The Amazon Rainforest is on Fire

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By — Sally Bermudez

For over a month the Amazon Rainforest, the biggest rainforest in the world that reaches 2,586,884 square miles, has been burning more than ever due to many uncontrollable fires. They’ve become so bad that the G7 nations have offered Jair Bolsonaro, the president of Brazil, 22.2 million dollars in aid to help stop the fires. Eventually he rejected this offer due to the fact that deforestation helps Brazil’s economic growth. Amazon fires have been a common way to clear land for farming and housing since the 1960’s, but according to CNN, rainforest fires in the Amazon have increased by 80% in the last year alone. The act of burning forest to make land, is mostly used for farms that specialize in cattle grazing and soybean growing. Now that the damage is to a point of no return, many problems have arisen.

First, the Amazon Rainforest is referred to as “the planets lungs” because it emits 20% of the worlds oxygen. This is a problem for the fight against climate change due to the fact that the oxygen being depleted is getting replaced with excessive amounts of CO2. The smoke from the fires is so big that according to National Geographic, they can be seen all the way in Argentina.

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60 students’ knowledge on the Amazon Rainforest fires.

Second, there are over 100 indiginous tribes that live in the Amazon. Since these tribes have been isolated from all civilization, they aren’t immune to the many diseases that we’re immune to. Now that they’re being pushed out, it could mean a higher death rate to the already low numbers of the indiginous people. Third of all, the Amazon is home to over 100,000 different types of species. Compared to America, they have 80,000 more wildlife species than we do. Some of the species have evolved to withstand fire, but a lot of animals like sloths, monkeys, birds, and jaguars haven’t, and have therefore perished due to this disaster. The lack of ecosystems due to the many animals dying can decrease tree growth which humans and animals need in order to survive.

Dr. Sulek, the AP biology teacher at Tuscarora, had a couple things to say about how the fire is affecting the climate and species in the Amazon.

It will definitely disrupt the ecosystem within the fire but the biggest thing is the Amazon is the lungs of the earth… what is does is it takes CO2 out of our atmosphere and turns it back to oxygen… a large percentage of the organisms that have never been seen or classified are in the Amazon rainforest… they could possibly go extinct before we even see them… then you got the whole global warming thing, so we keep pumping more carbon into our atmosphere and the carbon causes warming.