The Possible Effects of Amazon Wildfires in the Future

The Possible Effects of Amazon Wildfires in the Future

The Possible Effects of Amazon Wildfires in the Future
Image Credits:

The current rate of Amazon Wildfires can cause substantial issues in the coming years.

Amazon wildfires are not new as some parts of the forest burns every year in the dry season (July to October). However, this year, fires are ripping through the forest at an unprecedented rate. Satellite pictures from NASA show that in the middle of August, total fire activity in the Amazon basin was actually slightly below average in comparison to the past 15 years. In contrast to that, the destructive activity has been above average in some particular states like Brazil. The Brazilian National Institute for Space Research has reported an 84% increase on 2018’s statistics. They recorded more than 74,000 fires between January and August.

Cause of the Amazon Wildfires

Wildfires usually occur due to the clearing of land for cattle ranching and other agricultural purposes. On many occasions, it has been observed that the land is owned by indigenous people and Amazon wildfires go out of control in a short time, putting more than a million people at risk. Dr. Sandy Knapp, the Head of the Museum’s Algae, Fungi, and Plants Division, explained the cause of these fires and said,

“These fires are heartbreaking and terrifying. Deliberate deforestation is usually how fuel is made so that fires start in this otherwise wet habitat. This year the forest seems to have been particularly dry and fires that were started to clear a small patch have gone out of control and into the forest. People chop down trees and other vegetation in the wet season and then let the wood and land dry out. Then they burn it, and if the summer has been too dry, that fire can spread into the surrounding forest and becomes out of control.”

Quite a lot of conservationists have accused Jair Bolsonaro, the President of Brazil, for the catastrophic situation as he encouraged deforestation in the region.

Effects of Amazon Wildfires

Amazon is much more than a forest. During a forest fire, along with trees, animals are also extremely vulnerable. The understory contains diverse species of shrubs and herbs. The fire, along with heat, destroys most of these plants. Much of the Amazon rainforest is not well-equipped to deal with fire. Having said that, some parts of the forest are adapted to fire and play an important role in the ecosystem’s natural cycle. Sandy referred to that by saying,

“As tragic as this summer’s wildfires are, the Cerrado region is even more vulnerable than the areas being affected right now. This habitat is smaller in extent than the wet forests of the Amazon, so when it is converted to agriculture, less remains. It is a beautiful area full of endemic species, and it is being cleared now partly because of the world’s demand for soy products. We are converting land for our own use at the expense of all kinds of habitats.”

Millions of animals rely on Amazon as a habitat. Some of these include jaguars, tapirs, armadillos, sloths, and dolphins. Over 1000 bird species are also found in the forest. Similarly, experts believe that there are many species deep in the Amazon that are still unknown to science. Amazon Wildfires may make them unknown forever by destroys their natural habitats. Likewise, a layer of carbon prevents organic matter inside the soil from getting nutrients. Last but not least, the debris flows into waterways, causing pollution. All these harmful effects could destroy the entire planet in the long run.

The Aftermath

The rapid increase in Amazon wildfires upsets the delicate balance of the forest. As a result, the Amazon will have accelerated forest loss and it may cross the point of no-return, pretty soon. This, in turn, would lead to even more fires. Considering the fact that Amazon provides 20% of the world’s total oxygen, this could lead to unimaginable destruction.

Large forests are responsible for absorbing Carbon Dioxide from the atmosphere, slowing down climate change. The size of rainforest is directly proportional to its ability to support the rest of the planet. If Amazon continues to decrease, we should expect a lot of problems in near future. The degradation of freshwater systems, loss of biodiversity, smaller agricultural yields, and the spread of infectious diseases are only some of them. Although life always finds a way to thrive in the worst situations, the current rates are not so promising.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *