THE recent Amazon forest fires became a subject of discussion among many circles. Suddenly, people were very worried since the Amazon contributed twenty per cent of oxygen to the Earth and such large-scale fires could lead to global warming.
Before that did anyone have any concern about the history of the Amazon and how many species of flora and fauna are living there? The rainforest has been in existence for the past 55 million years. Nine countries share the Amazon basin which is Brazil, Peru, Bolivia, Colombia, Venezuela, Guyana, Suriname, French Guyana and Ecuador.
The forest is home to about 2.5 million insect species, 2000 birds and mammals. At least there are 40,000 plant species, 2,200 fishes, 1,294 birds, 427 mammals, 428 amphibians and 378 reptiles have been scientifically recorded. Since 1978, over 750,000 square kilometres of Amazon has been destroyed.
Initially, the trees were chopped down by farmers to produce crop for their families and local consumption. However, later on, the proportion of deforestation increased tremendously for the purpose of industrialisation and large scale agriculture. By the 2000s more than three quarters of forest clearing in the Amazon was for cattle ranching. Since 2004, only Brazil decided to take initiatives to save the forest and implemented new protected areas, increased law enforcement, satellite monitoring and private and public sector initiatives. However, all their effort to curb deforestation was stalling since 2012.
The World Meteorological Organization reported about the smoke that has spread across Brazil.
“Fires release pollutants, including particulate matter and toxic gases such as carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides and non-methane organic compounds into the atmosphere,” the organisation reported.
So, in a perverse chain of events, the fires are both generating large amounts of carbon dioxide, while at the same time destroying millions of trees that would be taking in the carbon dioxide and protecting the environment. The added carbon dioxide will then also trap heat within our atmosphere due to the greenhouse effect and could change the atmospheric circulation that causes the melting of large ice sheet and many other catastrophic effects of climate change.
As a lesson learnt from this, we should all join hands to save the environment. We should move towards a more sustainable development by planting a tree where we can. Governments should enforce a stricter regulation to control illegal logging. We should keep in mind that the planet is not only home for humans but also for flora and fauna. Some empathy must be shown for them too so that their species does not extinct and we need a balanced ecosystem as well. Industrialisation is essential to drive the economic growth but saving the earth for a healthy lifestyle and sustaining the beauty of of the earth for future generations.