By Cavid Abdullayev
Growing up, geography was my favorite subject in which I could expand and travel the world
through globes and maps. My teacher used to spin the globe and say, “Just point your finger in order to make the globe stop and maybe one day you can get a chance to travel where it has landed.” In that way, I realized that our world is home to plenty of wonderful and magical places. One of these interesting places that have always been a core subject of my interest is the Amazon rainforest. I have always believed that these biomes hold numerous secrets.
Amazon rainforests, also known as Amazonia, are moist, broadleaf tropical rainforests in the
Amazon that cover the majority of the Amazon basin in South America. This region
includes nine developing nations. The rainforest is mainly located in Brazil (60%), followed by
Peru with 13%, Colombia with 10%, and with minor amounts in Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia,
Guyana, Suriname, and French Guiana.
One in ten known species can be found in the Amazon rainforests. It is home to jaguars, amazon river dolphins, black spider monkeys, poison dart frogs, macaws, harpy eagles, and more tree-dwelling species, including southern two-toed sloths, pygmy marmosets, saddleback and emperor tamarins, and Goeldi’s monkeys. The diversity of the region is staggering:
40,000 plant species
3,000 freshwater fish species
More than 370 types of reptiles
427 mammal species
1300 bird species
By being the center of biodiversity, rainforests produce and filter water, and also prevent soil erosion. The majority of plants are used to make medicine, anti-cancer drugs, and even beauty products. Additionally, more than 30 million people live in the Amazon because its nature serves as clothing, agriculture, and shelter. No words can do justice to the harmony and importance of this place. But like with everything else in this world, this beauty must be protected if it is to survive.
The Amazon - the land of beauties or beauty lost. The Amazon - the land of fires. Thousands of fires are burning across a swath of the Amazon. Multiple news outlets are reporting that Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research reported a record 72,843 fires this year, an 80 percent increase from last year. On August 11, NASA stated that the fires were big enough to be seen from space. The official figures show more than 87,000 forest fires being recorded in Brazil in the first eight months of the year - the highest number since 2010. Now compare that to the 49,000 fire in the same period in 2018.
Forest fires are common in the Amazon during the dry season, which runs from July to October. They can be caused by naturally occurring events, like lightning strikes, but last year most were believed to have been started by farmers and loggers clearing land for crops or grazing.
The fires themselves are destructive and devastating, but their primary cause is more concerning, says Ane Alencar, the director of science at the Amazon Environmental Research Institute. “The majority of the fires we’re seeing now are because of deforestation,” she says. “It’s crazy. We reduced deforestation by almost 65 percent in the past. We proved that we could do that. And now we’re going backward.”
These huge fires adversely affect the fragile wildlife in the Amazonia. Every animal and plant is a crucial part of its environment. Each of them plays an important role in balancing the ecological stability of its delicate environment. If they vanish, many other species will disappear. In these wildfires, animals have few choices. “In the Amazon, nothing is adapted to fire,” says William Magnusson, a researcher specializing in biodiversity monitoring at the National Institute of Amazonian Research. They can avoid the fires by going into the water or burrowing or they can disappear. In that case, many animals will die from flames, heat, and smoke inhalation.
In order to protect these jungles, the World Wide Fund (WWF) has been working in Amazonia for 40 years. It collaborates with the government, creates various campaigns, projects, parks, and conducts surveys in order to protect forested areas. In the southwestern part of Amazonia, WWF has saved over 25 million acres of forest and freshwater habitat. Additionally, it engages with local tribes and supports them medically. However, saving the Amazon is a large task, so everybody has to get involved and take action by raising awareness and supporting the WWF. Everyday, increasing wildfires are destroying indigenous tribes and thousands of animal and plant species. Our lungs are on fire and it is becoming more and more threatening. If we do not do something, this will be our last chance to see this wonderful wildlife.
Amazon, Retrieved from https://www.worldwildlife.org/places/amazon
See how much of the Amazon is burning, how it compares to other years, Retrieved from https://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/2019/08/amazon-fires-cause-deforestation-graphic-map/
The Amazon in Brazil is on fire - how bad is it?, Retrieved from https://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-49433767