The Amazon region in Brazil and Bolivia is still burning. Raging fires had engulfed most of the Northern part of Mount Roraima and subsequently affecting its borders Acre, Amazonas, Rondonia, Mato Grosso do Sul and Bolivia.
Rondônia with its thick jungle foliage and climate that is warm and humid throughout the year, has long been recognised as one of the most threatened sections of Brazil’s Amazon in terms of depletion and deforestation.
Bolivia, like Brazil has also encouraged clearing of forest areas to support its cattle and farming industry, and has likewise seen flames that had already razed at least 2.4 million hectares of Bolivia’s section of the Amazon. The destruction has burned down 1.15 million protected land, destroyed around 40 million trees and killed about a thousand vertebrate animal species inhabiting the area.
World Leaders are Showing Grave Concern about the Raging Amazon Fire
Why is the Amazon Forest so important that European countries like Norway and Germany, have contributed millions of dollars as subsidies to the Amazon Fund for the region’s protection? However, the two countries halted their contribution, as the raging fire brought to light the fact that Brazil was not putting up a fight against the deforestation of the Amazon.
What is it about the Amazon that the leaders in the G7 informal meeting, representing France, the United Kingdom, Germany, Canada, Italy, Germany, Japan, and the United States, as well as the European Union bloc, raised more than $20 million to aid Brazil in putting out the fires. As a matter of fact, the UK and Canada pledged an additional $12 million and $11 million respectively.
The G7 aid though came with a stern warning against the incumbent Brazilian president to take serious action in protecting the Amazon. In separate pronouncements, President Emmanuel Macron of France and Prime Minister Leo Varadkar of Ireland said they intend to veto an important European Union trade deal entered with Mercosur, if President Bolsonario does not act accordingly for Amazon’s protection. Mercosur is the South American bloc seeking to improve trade relationships with other countries.
The Global Importance of the Amazon Region
The Amazon region and its collection of mountain ranges is important not only to the nine countries in which about 7.4 million square kilometres of tropical forests lie, namely: Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana, Peru, Suriname and Venezuela.
Dubbed as the “Lungs of the Earth,” the region is home to one third of the planet’s primary forests. It is also home to the Amazon River, which through its tributaries, globally provides as much as 20 percent of the world’s unfrozen fresh water.
The Amazon region, by way of its dense forests has been storing as much as 100 years worth of the world’s human-produced carbon emissions. That being the case, Amazon has been playing a vital role in slowing down the effects of global warming.
However, the amount of destruction caused by the still ongoing forest fire will adversely affect efforts at minimizing the enormous amount of carbon that goes to the Earth’s atmosphere in order to mitigate climate change.
Recently, scientists warned that the biomass burning caused by the Brazilian and Bolivian Amazon forest fires, is bound to increase environmental problems. Biomass burning produces large quantities of greenhouse gases and aerosol particles that can bring further changes in both regional and global climates.