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Brazil's Amazon rainforest suffers worst fires in a decade

 

A firefigther works to put out fires along the road to Jacunda National Forest, near the city of Porto Velho in Brazil's Amazon. (Source: www.euronews.com/reuters)


In the last few months Brazil has been the stage for several attentions, and It's not only due to Covid-19, but also because of the fact that Brazil’s Amazon rainforest is burning at a record rate, research center says. Rainforests are bursting with life. Not only do millions of species of plants and animals live in rainforests, but people also call the rainforest their home. Indigenous, or native, peoples have lived in rainforests for many centuries. 

 Thousands of fires are burning across a southern swath of the Amazon. They belch smoke and soot, blanketing those who live downwind with thick, dirty air, hurting wildlife in their path and destroying part of one the most important carbon storehouses left on the planet.

About 76,000 fires were burning across the Brazilian Amazon at last official count, an increase of over 80 percent over the same time period last year, according to data from Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research (INPE). Since then, even more fires have appeared in the satellite imagery that scientists use to assess the extent and intensity of burning, and they expect the number to increase over coming months as the dry season intensifies. 


Source:Environmental Research Institute (IPAM). 



The fires themselves are destructive and devastating, but their primary cause is more concerning, says Ane Alencar, the director of science at the Amazon Environmental Research Institute (IPAM). Ane confirms that the majority of the fires we’re seeing now are because of deforestation. 

An aerial view of an area consumed by fire and cleared near Novo Progresso in Para state, Brazil, Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020. ( Source:AP Photo/Andre Penner)

Environmental groups have long been campaigning to save the Amazon, blaming Brazil's far-right president, Jair Bolsonaro, for the endangerment of the vital rainforest. Bolsonaro gave the responsability to nonprofits for acting as obstacles in his mission to futher develop Brazil's economy. His administration has eased protections of areas such as the Amazon, making way for people to damage the rainforest.
 
How the Amazon Rainforest Fire Impacts Animals

 The Amazon is one of Earth's last refuges for jaguars, harpy eagles, pink river dolphins. It contains more than 370 types of reptiles and over 2,000 new species of plants and vertebrates.
Currently, It's impossible to know exactly which species are suffering the most until scientis can asses the situation. According  with Dr Juan Carlos Murillo from WWF,  Animals have died horrific deaths in the Amazon fires.

Source:Staffan Widstrand / WWF-Canon 


 Indigenous People and the Amazon Rainforest


 Indigenous peoples inhabit a large portion of the Amazon rainforest and their traditional and cultural beliefs have existed for centuries, providing storage for an immense amount of knowledge about the tropical Amazon. Within Brazil, the Indigenous population is estimated to be 310,000. Around 280,000 of these individuals reside within areas specifically designated as preserves.

Indigenous groups in Brazil march for land rights | Brazil ( Source: Al Jazeera)

Indigenous groups are being left to fight the fires on their own, without support from government institutions. IBAMA, Brazil’s environmental agency has been largely stripped of funds and lacks adequate equipment to fight the blazes, while the Army, sent to the Amazon in May, is reportedly failing to suppress most fires.

“The fire is surrounding our land, and it’s only going to get worse. There are still months of fires ahead of us. You wake up in the morning and see clouds of smoke on the horizon,” Bitate Uru Eu Wau Wau told Mongabay. He is the coordinator of the Japaú Association that represents his people. “It has been a huge concern, especially since we have elderly people here with breathing difficulties."

After a major invasion by land grabbers on January 12, 2019, Uru-eu-wau-wau men organized regular patrols. They’re determined to defend their ancestral territory, but can’t easily prevent the intrusion of Amazon fire season smoke or COVID-19. (Image by Divulgação Kanindé)





Article Written by :
Millena Ferraz

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