Rain Forest Fire Disrupts Global Habitats

Brooke Papini, Junior Staff Writer

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The Amazon is the world’s biggest rainforest, and it is currently facing destruction. Surprisingly, this rainforest has a number of fires throughout the year that cause the destruction of habitats for many plants and animals. Although many of the fires in the Amazon are caused by humans, the most recent fire has caught the attention of many news agencies and social media networks. According to sources, this fire began in early August, the beginning of the dry season, and soon photos of the devastation began to emerge. Actor Leonardo DiCaprio posted pictures of the rainforest burning and pledged five million dollars towards efforts to put a stop to the fires. Since the Amazon rainforest is so large, it has been hard for firefighters to put out these fires. Efforts to spread awareness about this massive fire in the Amazon are starting to appear and people are trying to change the outcome of the future.

Source states that in the past few years, there has been a spike in the number of Amazonian forest fires, and many of these are either naturally caused or caused due to human negligence or commerce. In Brazil, there have been more than 80,000 fires just this year. This is almost an 80% jump from the previous year, and more than half of these fires have taken place in the Amazon. The main causes from humans are deforestation and infrastructure development. A practice known as “slash and burn” is a deforestation method used to clear land, explains sources. Using this method, people cut down a patch of land and allow the location to dry out. After being cut down, the remains are set ablaze to create opportunities for agriculture and other advancements. This strategy can also be used to replenish the soil for the growth of pastures for animals. Junior Megan Toole states, “I think it is very selfish that we are allowing deforestation to continue. I get that countries want to build up their economy, but there won’t be an economy if we destroy the world’s largest rainforest.”  Brazil’s President Bolsonaro has begun to push for more infrastructure development that would create electric generators by using the Amazon’s main waterways. Although Brazil will benefit from these developments, it will negatively affect the environment, plants, and animals living there.

The Amazon is home to a bountiful number of plants, animals, and rivers. Global habitats in the Amazon play an important role in the survival of all species living in the rainforest. This area boasts one of the most diverse ecosystems on this planet and contains 10% of the world’s species. Each animal plays a major part in the balance and structure of the forest. An outside force such as human action could disrupt this balance leading to problems in the ecosystem. Cassie Herberger, a senior, at Hubbard High School says, “I think it is important that we protect the rainforest because without many of the plants and animals living there, the ecosystem and world would not be the same. In addition, we also must consider how many unknowns are still out there. If we destroy the Amazon, we may never know what undiscovered species lived there and what impact they had on the environment.” For example, plants and animals are what keep the rainforest healthy. Important nutrients, left by animals, leak into the forest floor and help the soil store carbon instead of releasing it. Plants actively regulate the Amazon’s ecosystem and help create a balanced environment. It is important that the Amazon and its surrounding habitat is kept safe for the future of the environment and the development of new species in the Amazon. 

  One is never too young to begin to be concerned about the environment.  It is all of our responsibilities to protect our planet, even if we are only teens.  Those who can activate change, must show efforts to stop preventable fires and the destruction of global habitats while they still can. It can take a long time for an ecosystem to recover from large fires, and since thousands occur each year, it will take even longer if a change doesn’t occur now. Eventually, the numbers begin to add up and at some point, the ecosystem will not be able to recover quickly enough. Therefore, it is vital that we become engaged and act before it is too late.

 

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