Forest fires and deforestation in the central Amazon



by LORENZO CIOTTI

Forest fires and deforestation in the central Amazon

Amazon Rainforest is threatened by wild deforestation and uncontrolled fires, which are severely wiping out the largest lung on the planet, in order to create new spaces for cultivation. A situation that is getting out of hand and that is putting the largest forest on the planet at serious risk.

Forest fires and deforestation in the central Amazon: Effects of landscape and climate on spatial and temporal dynamics, published on the Journal of environmental management, said: "Forest fires and deforestation are the main threats to the Amazon forest.

Extreme drought events exacerbate the impact of forest fire in the Amazon, and these drought events are predicted to become more frequent due to climate change. Fire escapes into the forest from agriculture and pasture areas.

We assessed the potential drivers of deforestation and forest fires in the central Brazilian Amazon and show that over a period of 31 years (1985-2015) forest fires occurred only in years of extreme drought induced by El Niño (1997, 2009 and 2015).

The association of forest fires with strong El Niños shows the vulnerability of forest to climate change. The areas deforested were closely associated with navigable rivers: 62% of the total deforestation from 2000 to 2018 was located within the 2 km of rive rs.

There was a notable increase in deforestation and forest fire during the 2015 El Niño in comparison to previous years. Only a small part of the forest that burned was deforested in the years following the wildfires: 7% (1997), 3% (2009) and 1.5% (2015).

Forest close to roads, rivers and established deforestation is susceptible to deforestation and fire since these areas are attractive for agriculture and pasture. Indigenous land was shown to be important in protecting the forest, while rural settlement projects attracted both forest fire and deforestation.

Of the total area in settlement projects, 40% was affected by forest fires and 17% was deforested. Rivers are particularly important for deforestation in this part of Amazonia, and efforts to protect forest along the rivers are therefore necessary.

The ability to predict where deforestation and fires are most likely to occur is important for designing policies for preventative actions. "