Olivia Alvord, Staff Writer
Recently, there has been a series of forest fires within the Amazon Rainforest. People around the world are blaming the practice of deforestation and rallying in support to protect forests and other natural beauties. Global News stated that, “the cause of the fires is not because of the environment’s natural activity. The fires are caused from numerous human activities such as common practices by farmers to get new forage for cattle to graze and prepare the previous year’s land for appropriate farming.”
Satellite images show flames engulfing on farmland where forests were already cleared for agriculture. It is thought that the people preparing the land for planting set most of the fires. This is a frequent practice that happens every year. Each year, those fires have the potential to spread to areas that the farmers had not intended them to. This factor, combined with the recent attention of social media, has resulted in an influx of scrutiny over these fires in Brazil.
Although it is one of the bigger fires that people around the world have known about, a fire of this size is common practice for the farmers in the area. This particular fire has gained social media attention because of the widespread support on social media and local news channel coverage.
The years of 2015 and 2016 were particularly bad fire years within the region because of the El Nino droughts, which led the fires to spread to more areas at a quicker rate. There is also the factor of smoke that has traveled south of Brazil. The smoke in the atmosphere around the South Paulo area, which is a commercial hub of Brazil, played a key role in why this particular Amazon fire has gained attention of news networks and social media platforms.
In the early 2000s, Brazil was internationally recognized for slowing down deforestation. However, in recent years, Brazil has not been doing as well as before and has shown regression in deforestation rates. Because large areas of land are cleared for cattle farming, and agricultural land having to expand to include larger amounts of soybean production, the increase of deforestation has become normal in this region. Global News stated, “meat production today is nearly five times higher than it was in the early 1960s which has led to the consequence of increasing deforestation not exclusively in Brazil, but also around the world.” Soy palm oil and wood are also factors as they are the major products that lead to the increase of deforestation in tropical regions.