Why people should be worried about the blazes and increased deforestation in Brazil? What is happening in the Amazon?

Thousands of fires are burning in Brazil, many of them in the world’s biggest rainforest, which is sending clouds of smoke across the region and pumping alarming quantities of carbon into the world’s atmosphere.

Does this happen every year?  Yes, but some areas have suffered far more than usual. In the worst-affected Brazilian state of Amazonas, the peak day this month was 700% higher than the average for the same date over the past 15 years.

What is the cause? Most of the fires are agricultural, either smallholders burning stubble after harvest, or farmers clearing forest for cropland. Illegal land-grabbers also destroy trees so they can raise the value of the property they seize. But they are manmade and mostly deliberate. Unlike the huge recent blazes in Siberia and Alaska, the Amazon fires are very unlikely to have been caused by lightning.

Read the full report from The Guardian.

amazon fires

A satellite image shows smoke rising from Amazon forest fires in Rondônia state, Brazil. Photograph: Reuters