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What the Amazon rainforest deforestation has to do with bushfires in Australia?

Dec 2, 2019 10:53:11 AM / by Karina Miotto

 

fonte greenpeace

Amazon forest burning. Credit: Greenpeace

The Amazon rainforest is the biggest rainforest of the world. Brazil has approximately 58,94% of the total area, according to what is called the ‘Legal Amazon`, while Peru (13%), Colombia (10%), Bolivia, Ecuador, Venezuela, Guiana, French Guiana and Suriname altogether have 17%.

It is known that the Amazon produces not air, as many people think, but instead water vapor and rain that influence the global climate. “Evapotranspiration is an important process in the water cycle because it is responsible for 15% of the atmosphere's water vapor. Without that input of water vapor, clouds couldn't form, and precipitation would never fall. Evapotranspiration is the combined name for the processes of evaporation and transpiration", according to North Carolina Climate Office website. Imagine how much the biggest rainforest of the world influences in the process of evapotranspiration! Just a lot.

But the Amazon has been burned since the end of the 70’s. It has become a normal issue to publicize the monthly levels of deforestation every month and year. Although, a drastic event called the world’s attention. On 10th of August, illegal loggers burned an area of the rainforest so huge that the fire was completely out of control – the fire could be seen from space, according to NASA images. This drastic event put the world’s eyes over the Amazon again.

Deforestation must stop, if we want a more humid air to our world. What happens in the Amazon in South America affects the whole planet. Says scientist Antonio Donato Nobre, from National Institute for Space Research (INPE, in Portuguese): “the rainforest has a direct influence through vertical cooling transpiration-condensation. Yes, the Amazon’s destruction has been affecting direct and indirectly the global climate with its multiple manifestations in each region. What is happening in Australia is related to Global Heating and of course the burning of tropical forests contributes to extreme weather conditions”.

As we all know, there has been fires across several states in Australia. Hundreds of hectares were burned, more than 600 homes were destroyed, many of our wildlife is dying. Scientists say the fire conditions this year are without parallel. Over the past 50 years, 2019 is the third worse ever bushfire record. The others were in 1974 and 1984. And a fact that may be contributing to it is lack of rain.

 

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Australian bushfires. Credit: WWF

Rainfall between January and August 2019 was the lowest on record in some areas of the country, which includes parts of New South Wales and Queensland. As Brazilian scientist explained, these extreme events in Australia may not be a mere coincidence with the severe loss of tropical rainforests, which includes the Amazon.

If we want an Australia with less drastic climate events such as the ongoing bushfires, we need to necessarily keep an eye and take action to stop the Amazon fires – after all, we are part of the same Earth. What happens there affects people and wildlife here.

3 tips on what to do to help the Amazon rainforest

Send money to some NGO that works on the frontline protecting the forest and its people, such as Projeto Saude e Alegria, Greenpeace, Instituto Socioambiental, Amazon Watch, Idesam

Inform yourself about it and talk about it with family and friends with the aim of raising awareness

Do your best to eat less meat or even stop it – cattle ranging is the main cause of the Amazon’s deforestation

Karina Miotto

Written by Karina Miotto

Environmental journalist, deep ecologist. Social sustainability & marketing team

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