Record Amazon fires stun scientists; sign of sick, degraded forests

By Sue Branford and Maurício Torres
October 11, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: International

Figures from the Brazilian government’s INPE (National Institute of Space Research) show that 2017 is shaping up to be the worst year on record for forest fires: 208,278 were detected by 5 October. …While there is a high level of drought this year, it is clear that something other than dry conditions is driving the record number of wildfires. …INPE, which has a sophisticated system for monitoring fires, has built up an impressive archive of satellite images of the damage done by the fires. …The fact that there has been a record number of fires this year doesn’t necessarily mean that there has been an increase in the area deforested. Instead, fires are often the result of a different phenomenon: forest degradation, which occurs when loggers move in to extract hard timber.

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