The Amazon region is home to the largest rainforest in the world and the richest river system. 2019 was the year of forest fires in the area, there are around 9,500. Together with illegal logging, fires have been a major factor in the area's degradation.
The Amazon rainforest probably formed during the Eocene, as a result of the global decrease in tropical temperatures, after the Atlantic Ocean had grown large enough to make a hot-humid climate possible in the Amazon basin.
The tropical forest has existed for at least 55 million years; most of the region remained free of savannah-like biomes at least until the last ice age. Deforestation is the transformation of forest areas into deforested areas, and is very active in the Amazon basin.
More than a fifth of the forest has already been destroyed and the entire ecosystem remains in danger. This work of destruction began in the 1940s, when the governments of the region decided to exploit forest and mineral resources.
In fact, deforestation allows the sale and export of timber, which can be very valuable, the increase of land for agriculture, which is strongly needed due to the growth of the population, and the exploitation of mineral deposits.
Over the years, numerous highways have also been built to connect large cities, which have not only been primary sources of deforestation but have also encouraged the construction of new villages along them, making the problem worse.
According to the National Institute of Space Research (INPE), 74 155 fires in the Amazon forest area took place on 20 August 2019, marking a significant increase compared to the numbers recorded in the same period of 2018 (about 83%).
In the first 8 months of 2019, according to INPE and NASA, about 83,000 fires developed in the region, representing the highest data of the decade and probably the second highest ever since 2000 (second only to those of 2005 where in the first 8 months of the year there were at least 133,000 fires).
Deforestation generates many problematic and potentially catastrophic aspects. Environmentalists have been denouncing for years an enormous loss of biodiversity, increased by the result of the destruction of forests and the unsustainable exploitation of its resources.
Furthermore, the Amazon is a huge terrestrial "lung" which, thanks to the high density of the vegetation and its equatorial position which allows a great radiation of the Sun, consumes large quantities of carbon dioxide, generating oxygen.
Removal of the forest area diminishes this effect; furthermore, deforestation is often carried out by uncontrolled fires.