Who started the Amazon fire

The consequences of the fires in the Amazon : The rainforest becomes the savannah

The fires that are currently raging in the Amazon and neighboring regions are probably the largest since such events have been specifically documented. In addition, the dry season has only just begun in most of the affected areas. Ane Alencar from the Amazon Environmental Research Institute in Belem told the New York Times that it could “get a lot worse” in the coming weeks.

Of the almost 80,000 fires currently documented, around 10,000 have only caught fire in the last seven days, the Brazilian Institute for Space Research Inpe has now reported. One of the researchers there, Alberto Setzer, told the Wall Street Journal that 99 percent of it came about through “human activity”. Many of these human activities are therefore arson in order to clear land for agricultural use.

Environmentalists assume that small farmers, but also larger companies with economic interests in the Amazon region, understand statements by right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro as an invitation to this type of "development". The Amazon Watch program director says "Bolsonaro's anti-environmental rhetoric" is "directly related to this devastation." Bolsonaro himself, meanwhile, accuses environmental groups of setting fires to discredit his government.

Data collected by the European climate monitoring program of the “Copernicus” satellites already show a clearly measurable increase in emissions of carbon monoxide and the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. It is also known that massive forest loss causes regional changes in climate and precipitation, which could ultimately turn large parts of the current rainforest areas into dry savannas.

Around 500 indigenous peoples could lose their livelihoods

Brazilian climate researcher Carlos Nobre told the New York Times that if the fires continued to increase, this change could become a reality in 15 to 20 years. That would mean that the vegetation and the soils of South America, which with an estimated 2.4 billion tons currently bind around a quarter of all carbon stored in forests worldwide, would then be able to store significantly less. As a greenhouse gas, the released carbon would permanently aggravate the climate crisis.

From the community

We will literally be burned to death in Europe in the next few summers. [...] It is 5 past 12 and events will roll over in the next few years. You are already doing it.

... writes user Babsack

In addition, due to the massive changes in ecosystems, further regional and global changes in weather and climate patterns are to be expected, as well as irretrievable losses of animal and plant species. For most of the approximately 500 indigenous peoples that would mean the loss of livelihoods.

The destruction of the ecosystems is still offset by protection projects and reforestation measures. Donations for corresponding projects, such as the WWF or organizations such as Regenwald.org or Oro Verde, are currently the only way for individuals in this country to have an influence.

Since his inauguration on January 1, 2019, Bolsonaro has relocated numerous posts in government environmental agencies and freezes resources. He even recently fired the director of the Inpe Space Institute, Ricardo Galvao. Inpe had published satellite data on the state of the rainforests, which the president described as "lies".

Now new: We give you 4 weeks of Tagesspiegel Plus! To home page