The Amazon Rainforest struggles to fight for its survival as a record number of forest fires have occurred. Although the fires started in January 2019, they greatly increased during August. Numerous questions have arisen about this particular issue. One question asked was what has caused these forest fires to intensify so suddenly? Well, experts say there is no doubt that deforestation played a big role in this issue. People have cut down thousands of trees, allowing the ground to dry out, and then eventually these lands are set ablaze to make room for agriculture. Trees were also cut down intentionally to replenish soil and support the growth of pastures for farm animals. Since Brazil is one of the world’s highest exporters for beef, people wanted to ensure that there was agricultural land for cattle farming. What can we do, as humans to stop this problem?
As of today, the world’s largest tropical rainforest and most important ecosystem has been burning for over three weeks. Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research has stated that there have been at least 80,000 forest fires in the Amazon this year so far, and it has increased by 84% compared to last year. It is especially surprising that the forest is burning because it rarely, if ever, burns on its own. Usually, the forest is too damp to be in flames, so the majority of fires are assumed to be caused by humans, who have been deforesting the Amazon Rainforest for agricultural purposes. The biggest economic interest groups to blame for this fire are the cattle grazers and soybean growers. These groups have cut down hundreds of trees to make room for pastures, cattle grazing, or growing crops. As a result of the groups, there have been many other negative impacts, which come with deforestation. For example, their actions have caused endangerment and extinction of native plants and animals as well as an increase in temperature. Scientists state that many satellite photos “show a special pattern where we see a lot of fire hotspots clustered around roads, agriculture, and pasture areas have already been cleared.” These images indicate that humans are the main source of this issue (Washington Post).
The Amazon rainforest is not only important to Brazil, but to many other countries as well. Brazil’s trees play a vital role in the region’s water system. These trees go through a process called evapotranspiration, which occurs when trees bring water up through their roots, moving it up the canopy of the forest, and then releasing it into the air. The trees ultimately release organic compounds that help form clouds. This rainfall pattern helps preserve agriculture throughout Brazil by hydrating and quenching the thirst of millions of people. However, now that the forest is losing 110-120 yards per minute, the system is in a fragile state, impacting the millions of residents of Brazil.
In conclusion, the Amazon Rainforest plays an enormous role in not only Brazil, but also to the rest of the planet. Deforestation has always been a prominent issue, but has especially increased this year. As humans, it is important to protect our environment and care for the world, our home. Although change might not happen immediately, humans everywhere should aim for improvements.
Ellie Kim, Grade 10
James Madison High School.