Researchers Believe Amazon Rainforest Fires Are Human-Induced
The Amazon rainforest is burning and researchers say humans are the likely culprits. A new report states that unlike California and Australia, the Amazon doesn’t catch on fire easily and that its probable humans set a match to the forest to clear the land.
Environmental organizations and researchers say the wildfires blazing in the Brazilian rainforest were set by cattle ranchers and loggers who want to clear and utilize the land, emboldened by the country’s pro-business president. “The vast majority of these fires are human-lit,” said Christian Poirier, the program director of non-profit organization Amazon Watch. He added that even during dry seasons, the Amazon — a humid rainforest — doesn’t catch on fire easily, unlike the dry bushland in California or Australia. Farmers and ranchers have long used fire to clear land, said Poirier, and are likely behind the unusually large number fires burning in the Amazon today.
These fires are horrible for the local ecosystem, the site reports, not to mention the Amazon provides a monumental amount of the WORLD’S oxygen too. CNN reports…
The country’s space research center (INPE) said this week that the number of fires in Brazil are 80% higher than last year. More than half are in the Amazon region, spelling disaster for the local environment and ecology.
And 99% percent of the fires result from human actions “either on purpose or by accident,” Alberto Setzer, a senior scientist at INPE, said. The burning can range from a small-scale agricultural practice, to new deforestation for a mechanized and modern agribusiness project, Setzer told CNN by email. The Amazon forest produces about 20% of the world’s oxygen, and is often called “the planet’s lungs.” According to the World Wildlife Fund, if it is irrevocably damaged, it could start emitting carbon instead — the major driver of climate change.
The environmental minister, Ricardo Salles, tweeted on Wednesday that the fires were caused by dry weather, wind, and heat. But CNN meteorologist Haley Brink said the fires are “definitely human-induced,” and can’t be attributed to natural causes like lightning strikes.
CNN goes on to state that human-induced fires are especially hard to stop and people are blaming Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro for the destruction that has been caused.
When Bolsonaro was running for president, he made campaign promises to restore the economy by exploring the Amazon’s economic potential. Now, environmental organizations say he has encouraged ranchers, farmers, and loggers to exploit and burn the rainforest like never before with a sense of impunity. In a statement, Amazon Watch pointed to widespread local media reports that just last week, farmers had organized a coordinated “fire day” to burn land for agriculture, inspired by Bolsonaro’s rhetoric.