If climate change continues to worsen unchecked, and forest degradation continues unabated, then unstoppable Amazon mega-fires could be seen in this century; such fires would greatly increase the release of carbon into the atmosphere worsening climate change. Photo courtesy of IBAMA
- With the fire season still on-going, Brazil has seen 208,278 fires this year, putting 2017 on track to beat 2004’s record 270,295 fires. While drought (likely exacerbated by climate change) worsens the fires, experts say that nearly every blaze this year is human-caused.
- The highest concentration of fires in the Amazon biome in September was in the São Félix do Xingu and Altamira regions. Fires in Pará state in September numbered 24,949, an astonishing six-fold increase compared with 3,944 recorded in the same month last year.
- The Amazon areas seeing the most wildfires have also seen rapid change and development in recent years, with high levels of deforestation, and especially forestdegradation, as loggers, cattle ranchers, agribusiness and dam builders move in.
- Scientists warn of a dangerous synergy: forest degradation has turned the Amazon from carbon sink to carbon source; while globally, humanity’s carbon emissions are worsening drought and fires. Brazil’s rapid Amazon development deepens the problem. Researchers warn that mega-fires could be coming, unless trends are reversed.
Record Amazon fires stun scientists; sign of sick, degraded forests by Sue Branford & Maurício Torres, Mongabay, Oct 11, 2017
Those fires have a lot in common with the same kinds of forest fires seen in Indonesia in recent decades -- often started by poor 'peasant' farmers and forestry workers, ignorantly and recklessly doing things the way that their forebears did, "burning off" after harvests and logging -- but with no proper due regards to the greatly degraded local conditions brought about by bad practices by big farming and forestry concerns...
Those fires in the Amazon basin aren't quite as fierce and "wild" and as destructive individually as those seen in the USA, Canada and Australia... Different kinds of trees and forests to start with --
often more like tropical and sub-tropical "rainforests" rather than the coniferous and 'dry schlerophyll' (e.g. eucalypt and angophora..) forests found in some of the more 'intense' fire regions..
* They are more numerous and more frequent -- and often in more remote or inaccessible places,
or in regions of less economic or political value to many of the politicians;
* The cumulative effects on climate change, biodiversity loss, local environmental damage, may be even more serious iver the long term (keeping in mind that the Amazon basin contains one of the two largest forest reserves on the planet -- the other being the "Great Forests" of central Russia..).
* Brazilian firefighters -- like those in Indonesia, S. France, Spain and Portugal -- aren't currently up to the job, due to underfunding and lack of resources; As witnessed by the unprepared and "arse up" responses by local authorities in the last few years.
* As in Indonesia, those Amazon/Brazilian fires also have severe impacts on air quality, public health and such side_issues as serious disruptions to air traffic; And, they tend to keep smouldering and burning at low levels for weeks, and even months, on end..
* In both Brazil and Indonesia, conditions are often made even worse by corrupt and incompetent local authorities working 'hand in glove' with big businesses, while running right over the more important concerns of local communities, indigenous peoples, and the environment itself -- irregardless of what their national gov'ts official policies may be.
And, one final point :
The author of that story focuses on the increased CO & CO2 emissions from future "mega"fires contributing to climate change -- but neglects the even more serious side of that same outcome -- more frequent forest fires would accelerate deforestation even more.. And trees still remain the most important "Carbon Sinks" available for dealing with excessive COx emissions...
And hence the importance of forcing the logging and agribusiness concerns to contribute to both re-forrestation efforts, and improving firefighting resources, in those regions.. After all, they caused the problems.
Last edited by WhoseYourWolfie on Sat Oct 14, 2017 6:58 pm; edited 3 times in total
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