The Amazon rain forest has been burning for many days. What has it burned?

The Amazon rainforest fire that lasted for many days caused widespread concern. How much is the impact of forest fires on the rainforest? Is it true that some fires are normal for the self-proliferation of forests, and what is the current situation of the Amazon rainforest?

This year’s fire is more serious than ever

Portovenu, the capital of the state of Rondonia, in the northwestern part of Brazil, has been covered by smog for the past week. The airport was closed for a while, soot and dust flew into the mall, and the number of patients visiting the hospital due to respiratory problems increased significantly. This state, located in the southern part of the Amazon rainforest, is often seen in international media due to the recent fires in the rainforest.

Oliveira is a fruit stalle of Porto Velho. She told the media reporter who came to interview: “The business is still normal, but everyone is talking about the fire. We are used to having a fire every year, but this year. The situation is indeed more serious than in previous years.”

In fact, the rainforest is not easy to burn because it is very humid. The 6,400-kilometer-long Amazon River runs through the forest and is densely covered with water. Through transpiration, plants release moisture into the air, which forms thick clouds above the rainforest, which keeps the rainforest warm and moist even when it is not raining.

Occasionally, some spontaneous combustion occurs in the rain forest, and the scale is not large. The fire point is close to the ground and will soon be destroyed by the rain. “In the past hundreds of thousands or even millions of years, the Amazon rainforest has never really had a large-scale spontaneous combustion fire,” said Magnuson, a researcher at Amazon Rainforest.

At present, most of the fires in the rainforest are caused by humans. The dry season of the Amazon rainforest is also the season for farmers to burn forests for land reclamation – usually starting in July and August, reaching the apex in early September and gradually ending in November. Rondonia is an important beef producing region in Brazil and one of the most severely damaged areas of the Brazilian rainforest. The data shows that the fires here have increased significantly this year compared to last year, most of which were ignited by herders and farmers for grazing and farming.

Rainforest has no resistance to fire

In the opinion of experts, it is because the rainforest has never really burned, so it can have such rich biodiversity. The rainforest, with an area of ​​more than 5.5 million square kilometers, spans nine countries in South America, with 40,000 species of plants, 1,300 species of birds, 3,000 species of fish, 430 species of mammals and 2.5 million species of insects. It is home to four or five hundred Indian primitive tribes, and it is believed that about 50 tribes have never contacted the outside world.

This vast rainforest absorbs carbon dioxide, a key carbon reservoir that alleviates global warming, and releases oxygen, known as the “lung of the earth.” The rainforest also produces, stores and filters water to combat soil erosion, floods and drought. Many plants found in the rainforest are used as medicines, beauty products and food.

There are indeed some forests that are symbiotic with fire. Mountain fires are even important for maintaining a healthy ecosystem. For example, a woodpecker from the western United States, nesting only on burnt trees, and producing beetles For food; in Australia, the seeds of some eucalyptus trees can be cracked in the fire, so that they can take root.

But the Amazon rainforest is a natural “water” and has no resistance to fire. The animals and plants here do not adapt to fire, and the casualties of animals in fires are greater than those in other forest fires. The fire will have a longer-term impact on the rainforest. Experts say that the entire ecosystem will change after the rainforest burns. The thick canopy of the Amazon rainforest has largely blocked the sun from shining into the rainforest, but the fire has made the canopy gap, and the sun’s rays have fundamentally changed the energy flow of the ecosystem, which has a chain effect on the entire food chain.

For example, amphibians often use camouflage to blend themselves with bark or leaves. Suddenly, the background changes and it is exposed. Another example is that spider monkeys live in tall canopies to avoid competition in the lower layers of the rainforest. If the canopy is gone, they will have to travel to other areas to face more intense competition. For the indigenous people who are isolated in the rainforest, fires threaten their survival.

Set fire to land reclamation behavior or change

The reporter went to the rainforests of Guyana and Suriname to visit the forestry enterprises there. Just entering the edge of the rainforest, there is a sense of covering the sky, people in it is very small. Yuan Jun, who has been engaged in logging for a long time in Suriname, told that as long as planning and forest adjustments are made before logging, the site is strictly restricted when logging, and the number of felled trees per hectare, tree species, volume and spacing between mining logs are strictly observed. The layman could not see the change of the rainforest before and after logging.

“Tropical forests have a strong ability to self-reproduce. After 20 years or so, this forest can be used for the second round of mining. As long as it is selectively exploited, the impact on forest ecology and environment is extremely limited. The forest is endless. Sustainedly create economic value.” Yuan Jun told reporters.

But in a continuous or multiple fires, the damage to the rainforest may be permanent. After the soil is destroyed, the rain forest is difficult to regenerate, and the biodiversity cannot be replicated. At the same time, most of the rain forests are produced by the rainforest itself. As forests decrease, rainfall decreases, making the area more arid, leading to more deforestation. Over time, this cycle may eventually turn the dense rainforest into a dry, grassland-like ecosystem. The reduction of rainforests will have a double impact on climate change, which will increase carbon emissions and reduce future carbon sequestration resources.

After Brazilian President Bossonaro took office, he took support for land reclamation and development of mining, which led some arsonists to have no scruples. The fire also brought terrible consequences to the world. In the case of fruit stall owner Oliveira, the situation is changing. “People have set fire to land reclamation for many years, but we really feel the consequences of this, and people’s thinking has begun to change.”