Manaus (dpa) – The environmental protection organization WWF Germany has warned of serious consequences for the indigenous peoples and the global climate in view of the increasing destruction of forests in the Brazilian Amazon region. “With the trees of the Amazon, the livelihood of the indigenous people is also disappearing,” said WWF South America officer Roberto Maldonado, according to a statement. Today is Amazon Day, with which Brazil commemorates the founding of the state of Amazonas by Dom Pedro II in 1850.
The worst fires in almost five years have been raging in the Brazilian Amazon. In August, 33,116 fires were recorded in the region, according to the Space Research Institute (Inpe), which evaluates satellite data. The last time there were more fires in a month was in September 2017. In August there were even the worst fires since 2010.
Indigenous people are considered the best “guardians of the forest” in the fight against environmental damage and climate change. Only 1.6 percent of deforestation between 1985 and 2020 was on indigenous land, according to the WWF. Around 20 percent of the original Amazon rainforest has already been destroyed. “If we lose the Amazon, we lose one of the largest carbon stores on this planet,” Maldonado said.
Between June and October is forest fire season in Brazil. Trees are usually felled first and then the cleared areas are set on fire to create new pastures and farmland. The topic could also play a role in the presidential election in early October. Right-wing incumbent Jair Bolsonaro sees the Amazon region primarily as economic potential. His rival candidate, ex-president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, on the other hand, has promised to strengthen environmental and climate protection in the future. Lula is currently clearly ahead in the polls.
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