The 2019 Amazon rainforest wildfires are an unusually strong series of thousands of independent wildfires occurring in the Amazon rainforest in 2019 during the tropical dry season.The bulk of the wildfires have occurred within Brazil’s Legal Amazon, the portion of the forest within Brazil, but the neighboring countries of Bolivia, Peru, and Paraguay have also lost large areas to wildfire, including more than 730,000 hectares (1.8 million acres) in Bolivia alone.
The wildfires drew criticism against the Brazilian government, particularly from environmental NGOs and France, which borders Brazil in its region of French Guiana,in the week leading up to the 45th G7 summit. These agencies assert that policies put in place by newly elected Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro have weakened the protection of the rainforest. Bolsonaro and his ministers retorted that deforestation is needed to rebuild Brazil’s economy and that INPE’s data has been falsified as part of a disinformation campaign against his administration. In early August, Bolsonaro fired the director of the INPE after the agency reported statistics that showed an increase in deforestation in Brazil. With increased international attention, including proposals to ban Brazilian exports and to end negotiations on the European Union–Mercosur Free Trade Agreement, the federal government has since committed more than 44,000 Brazilian troops, and additional funding of R$38.5 million was reallocated by the Ministry of Economy to stop the fires.
As of August 20, there are fires burning in the rainforest in four Brazilian states: Amazonas, Rondônia, Mato Grosso, and Pará. The states of Amazonas and Acre declared states of emergency in response to the wildfires.
There is 670 million ha (1.7 billion acres; 6.7 million km2; 2.6 million sq mi) of the Amazon rainforest,60 percent lying within Brazil. From a global climate perspective, Amazon has been the world’s largest carbon dioxide sink and estimated to capture up to 25% of global carbon dioxide generation into plants and other biomass. Without this sink, atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations would increase and contribute towards higher global temperatures, thus making the viability of the Amazon a global concern.
The governors of the nine Brazilian states most affected by a record number of fires since 2010 have urged President Jair Bolsonaro to accept foreign aid to fight the blazes.
President of Brazil, Mr. Bolsonaro had earlier refused a G7 offer of $22m following a spat with French President Emmanuel Macron. But following a meeting between the governors and Mr. Bolsonaro, the government shifted its position on aid.
It said it would accept it as long as it had control of what to spend it on.
The Brazilian government has said that it is rejecting an offer of financial aid from G7 countries to help tackle a record number of wildfires raging in the Amazon rainforest. Two industries are being blamed for their contribution to the infernos – beef and soy. Brazil is the world’s largest beef exporter and it’s expected to ship 2.2 million metric tons of it overseas in 2019. It’s also the world’s largest soy producer and the growth of both industries have come at the expense of the country’s rainforest.
The current spate of fires is being blamed on the accelerated pace of deforestation, primarily for cattle ranching and soy production. Fire is used to dispose of felled trees and dried vegetation while it is also used by farmers to clear and maintain areas for agricultural use. Back in the early 1980s, Brazil’s soybean harvest totaled around 14 million metric tons and the crop quickly boomed due to development of new cultivation techniques as well as the use of pesticides. The U.S. Department of Agriculture is now projecting a 123 million ton harvest for 2019/20 which would make Brazil the world’s leading soy producer ahead of the United States.