The Amazon rainforest is burning at a record rate- the highest on record since 2013 and an 83% increase from last year. Earlier this month, Brazil declared a state of emergency over the rising number of fires in the region.
So far this year, almost 73,000 fires in the country have been detected by Brazil’s space research center, INPE.
The Amazon is regarded as vital in the fight against global warming due to its ability to absorb carbon from the air. It’s often referred to as the “lungs of the Earth,” as more than 20 per cent of the world’s oxygen is produced there. Brazil has the biggest share of the 670 million hectares of forest (60 per cent), which is home to more species than anywhere else on the planet. The region is home to 2.5 million insect species, tens of thousands of plants, and some 2000 birds and mammals.
Satellite images show fires in the Brazilian states of Amazonas, Rondonia, Para and Mato Grosso. The state of Amazonas is most affected, according to Euronews.
The reason for the fires is disputed, but not that convincingly from this height. Natural fires in the Amazon are rare, and the majority of these fires were set by farmers preparing Amazon-adjacent farmland for next year’s crops and pasture. Much of the land that is burning was not old-growth rainforest, but land that had already been cleared of trees and set for agricultural use.
Deforestation more broadly is always a cause for concern. Last year, the world lost about 30 million acres of tree cover, including 8.9 million acres of primary rainforest, an area the size of Belgium, according to data from the University of Maryland.
Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research (INPE)’s figures represent a 79% increase in fires from the same period in 2018. There have been large numbers of fires in other recent years as well: According to a manager of Global Forest Watch, the number of fires in the Amazon this year is roughly comparable to 2016. NASA says the state has become one of the most deforested states in the Amazon. Brazil has 85% more fires burning than this time last year – up to 80,626 nationwide as of 25 august.
Other countries have also been affected by fires
A number of other countries in the Amazon basin – an area spanning 7.4m sq km (2.9m sq miles) – have also seen a high number of fires this year.
Venezuela has experienced the second-highest number, with more than 26,000 fires, with Bolivia coming in third, with more than 17,000.
Anthropogenic or natural, whatever reason behind this disaster is not a topic right now, need of hour is to control of this fire genie which is engulfing huge habitat and living organisms among forest.