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The proliferation of fires in the Amazon rainforest drew international attention in August, especially when French President Emmanuel Macron called for urgent action.
Since then, the eyes of the world have shifted elsewhere as House Democrats launched an impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump, Hurricane Dorian leveled large swaths of the Bahamas, a Brexit deal was left for dead and revived, and U.S. troops pulled out of northern Syria.
Meanwhile, the Amazon continued to burn.
The number of fires decreased by 35% in September, but experts say this is merely a slowdown in a crisis with global repercussions.
Fire - Outbreaks - September - Part - Rainforest
There were still 19,925 fire outbreaks in September on the Brazilian part of the rainforest, which accounts for nearly 65% of the Amazon basin. Moreover, through the first nine months of the year, the number of fires soared by 41% compared to the same period in 2018, Brazil's National Institute for Space Research (INPE) reported.
"The factors that led to such widespread fires in the first place—decreased enforcement of forest law, illegal deforestation for agriculture and invasion of indigenous territories—remain in place," said Nigel Sizer, chief program officer for the advocacy organization Rainforest Alliance. "It is good news that there are fewer fires in the Amazon right now, but this is a short-term respite from the larger problem."
Problem - Centers - Deforestation - Trees - Land
That problem centers on deforestation through the systematic chopping down of trees, which are either logged or burned, mostly to convert the land for raising cattle and growing crops. The practice has expanded from a small scale to an industrial production, leading to about 20% of the Brazilian Amazon being cleared since 1970.
Deforestation had diminished for nearly a decade as a result of enhanced law enforcement, an increase in protected areas and environmental activism, but the trend in Brazil has reversed course. There has already been more deforestation in 2019—upwards...
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