The fires raging in the Brazilian Amazon this summer were not "normal", and large increases in deforestation could explain why, scientists show.
The perceived magnitude of the Amazonian flames attracted worldwide attention this summer. However, the international concerns expressed at the time contradicted the Brazilian government, which claimed that the fire situation in August was "normal" and "below the historical average".
An International Team of Scientists Writes in the Journal Global According to Change Biology the number of active fires in August was actually three times that of 201
Although fires in the Amazon varied Species can occur, scientists show that there are fires Strong evidence to link this year's increase with deforestation.
They used evidence from the Brazilian government's DETER-b deforestation detection system, which calculates deforestation by interpreting images taken by NASA satellites.
This shows the deforestation in July this year year was almost four times as high as the average of the same period in the last three years. This is important as deforestation is almost always followed by a fire – the cut vegetation is allowed to dry before burning.
Professor Jos Barlow, lead author of the paper, said: "The significant increase in both the number of active fires and deforestation in 2019 refutes the proposals of the Brazilian government that August 2019 was a normal firepower month in the Amazon."
The flames of August occurred at a time of no severe drought. Droughts can create favorable conditions for the spread of man-made fires. The scientists also show that the "huge" plumes of smoke that penetrated high into the atmosphere and were taken up by the media could only be caused by burning large amounts of biomass.
Researchers admit that the number of active fires dropped 35 percent in September. It is said that it is not clear whether this case is due to rain or the two-month fires of President Bolsonaro.
Pictures from DETER-b show that deforestation was well above average in September, despite the president's moratorium.
The extent of fires in August is unclear. Although the number of fires is counted, their extent is not as confirmed by the researchers in their paper "Clarifying Amazonias Burning Crisis".
Dr. Erika Berenguer, a Brazilian researcher working with Lancaster University and the University of Oxford, said, "Our study clearly shows that the world's largest rainforest will continue to be turned into ashes without fighting deforestation, and we need to curb deforestation." 19659005] "Brazil has been a leader in the environmental field for the past decade and has shown the world that it can successfully reduce deforestation. It is both economically and ecologically unwise to reverse this trend. "
The Amazon has not stopped burning. There were 19,925 fires last month and there are more fires going on in the future
Jos Barlow et al., Clarifying Amazonia's Burning Crisis, Global Change Biology (2019). DOI: 10,1111 / gcb, 14872
Deforestation of the Amazon and the number of fires show that the summer of 2019 is not a "normal" year (2019, November 15)
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