The Amazon forest has been burning for weeks. The Brazilian states of Amazônia, Mato Grosso and Rondônia are the most affected, with thousands of fires spreading out of control, prompting millions of people to demand a solution on social media.
The summer in the southern hemisphere brings dry weather, but the lack of rainfall does not seem to be the main culprit for the current situation in the Amazon, as tropical forest ecologist Erika Berenguer explains.
“The dry season in the Amazon has always brought fires,” she tells me. “What’s different this year is the scale of the problem. It is the increase in deforestation allied to the innumerable fires and the increase in carbon monoxide emissions.”
Vanessa Costa, a forestry engineer, adds that “rural producers choose this time of year to clean up the area for the next planting season and to renew the pastures. Generally, they use the fires for this purpose”.
Fires in the Amazon rainforest do not occur in a natural way; someone has to start a fire. That’s exactly what happened on the “Day of Fire.” Between August 10 and 11, farmers in the state of Pará, organized through WhatsApp, reportedly decided to set the forest on fire as a way to show support for far-right president Jair Bolsonaro.
Full article at Remezcla’s website. Date of publication: 27/08/2019.