Conservation and Biodiversity

Controlled Fires In South America Lead To Subsequent Disaster

Trees play a vital role in influencing the Earth’s climate as they take in about 48 pounds of carbon dioxide each per year. Their presence is essential to maintaining wildlife and their ecosystems. However, the tree population has continuously decreased due to the large amount of deforestation around the world due in large part to agriculture and forest fires.  

Deforestation due to agriculture has been commonplace for thousands of years. It is a common practice by private landowners, in South America, used to make a clearing for agricultural and cattle production. One of the most common methods farmers use to clear land is through controlled burns. This practice results in loss of native vegetation and species in areas like Brazil, Peru, Ecuador, and Colombia. In doing so, private landowners put public and undeclared lands at risk of catching fire as well.

Once a forest has experienced a fire, that area is 60% more likely it will experience at least another one after that. This means that they are left vulnerable to subsequent disaster, which interrupts their regrowth, especially since it can take about two decades for them to return to their original state. 

The indigenous communities who live within these affected areas are often the first to experience the aftermath of the forest fires that turn into wild fires. With 3,500 fires in 148 indegenous Amazonian communities in a single month, the struggles they face in acquiring their usual vegetation and water due to forest fires can unfortunately become normalized.  

The importance of healthy forests is crucial not only for the environment and biodiversity, but also for the communities that depend on them. A great way to ensure that we are conserving and restoring the areas affected by forest fires is by taking part in The Canopy Project from EARTHDAY.ORG. We can ensure that we are playing our role in helping restore vulnerable areas most impacted by forest fires.