Environment Changes due to Fires in the Amazon
Author: Javid Javadi
The fires which have occurred in the Amazon have led to unpleasant circumstances for not only South America but the entire world. The entire world has faced environmental changes as a result of the fires which have occurred throughout the Amazon. The month of August is the beginning of what is known as the “fire season,” as Brazil has released statistics in 2019 indicating that there had been up to 74,000 fires throughout the year (Dunne and Mcsweeney). These fires are not only caused for concern for the South American region but also the world, as there has been a significant increase in the number of fires from 2013, more specifically doubling since 2013 (BBC News). This is bad news because it shows that the fires will continue to get worse.
The effects these fires have on South America are very detrimental. These effects include deforestation and a decrease in rain which could have a significantly negative effect on the agriculture of South America. A study conducted by Brazil’s National Space Institute showed that 30 to 60 percent of the Amazonian lands could be converted into a dry savanna (Nobre). A dry savanna would mean the loss of a huge amount of crops which would also affect the exportation of the South American nations. The nations in South America are known to be very prominent in their crop exportation with countries on other continents. If these fires proceed in a long term manner, it would be highly detrimental to the economy of the Southern American nations.
These fires also have a significant effect on the world. As aforementioned, the number of crops being imported from South America would decrease, but many other changes will also come about. These changes include but are not limited to the emission of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, and deforestation. The effects of such extreme fires have increased carbon dioxide emissions by 500 million tons (Rosen). The increase in carbon dioxide is most detrimental to the environment of the world because following the increase of carbon dioxide, which is a green house gas, is global warming (NOAA). Global warming seems to only be getting worse and worse as the years pass. It is known that even a slight increase in temperature would cause huge changes to the world, these changes include but are not limited to: higher death rates, dirtier air, and higher acidic oceans (Denchak). Higher death rates would occur because humans are not adapted to temperature changes and for individuals who may not have air conditioning in their residence, this would cause catastrophic health consequences. Health consequences could be stroke or illness. These health consequences could also lead to fatal consequences if the appropriate precautions are not taken. Dirtier air is caused by the effect that carbon dioxide has on the ozone layer of the ground which if affected, could lead to an increase in smog and airborne pollen. This increase in dirtier air could lead to the risk of stroke and/or pulmonary diseases which could prove to be fatal. Higher acidic oceans would be caused due to the oceans tendency to absorb the carbon dioxide which is in the atmosphere. This carbon dioxide would be absorbed into the oceans and would serve as a huge threat to creatures who live underwater such as crabs, mollusks, or even dolphins.
To prevent the accumulation of fires in the Amazon, there needs to be an increase in preservation acts. This could be done through multiple methods. The most important of these methods being the rehabilitation of forested lands, expansion of protected areas, land policy reform, and law enforcement. Efforts in regards to the rehabilitation of forested lands would require the use of technologies to accelerate the quality and development of the tropical rainforests, which would save and improve the Amazon. In regards to the expansion of protected areas, it is still possible to restore regions of the Amazon to preserve it in hopes of assisting the reforestation process. This restoration process will most likely take years to accomplish, but it should be worthwhile as agriculture will be blossoming like never before and mammalian species in that area would also return. Land policy reform could be conducted through new laws being passed to remove unwanted activities in the Amazon. Brazil specifically, allows open access to the Amazon which may be detrimental to the land because who knows what the population of humans is doing in those lands (Butler). Finally, the integration of law enforcement can be a means to rehabilitation as well, through the passing of laws to restore the land which had been lost to the fires and to add additional resources to prevent the destruction of those lands.
To enable the import/export of agriculture from South America, restoration of lands lost to the forest fires in the Amazon, and to reduce the level of climate change affecting the world and its inhabitants, changes must be made for the betterment of the world.
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