Amazon Forest Fires – Devastation- Can Technology Offer Any Assistance

Written by: Admin ,

August 26, 2019

What’s causing the fires?

Environmental organizations and agencies in the country say that majority of fires are the result of human activities. A senior scientist at the INPE told CNN that humans had either purposefully and inadvertently set 99 percent of the fires. Farmers and loggers usually clear the land using fire during Brazil’s dry season, starting from summer, into early fall, for agricultural purposes. Brazilian officials have been claiming that the fires are largely a product of dry seasonal conditions, but experts and environmentalists disagree, based on the scale of the fires.

How much forest is being destroyed?

Over the course of pro business president Bolsonaro’s first term, Brazil has lost 1,330 square miles of forest, a 39 percent increase compared to last year. The INPE reported that the Amazon lost 870 square miles of forest—more than half the size of Rhode Island—in July alone.

What are the long-term consequences—for Brazil and for everywhere else?

The Amazon is critical to managing global climate change. The Amazon itself accounts for consuming a quarter of the 2.4 billion metric tons of carbon that forests around the world remove from the atmosphere every year. A decimated Amazon would make it extremely difficult to meet the goal of keeping worldwide warming below 3.6 degrees, as outlined in the Paris climate accords. The fires further emit greenhouse gases in the air, though it’s too early to predict the quantity and impact. As the world’s largest tropical rainforest, the Amazon is home to 30 percent of the world’s plant and animal species according to some estimates, and fires are a threat to the region’s biodiversity.

What Help Can Technology Offer?

Satellite Monitoring 
A fleet of public and private-sector satellites are keeping tabs on deforestation rates in the Amazon and severity of the fires.
Here are some of the satellite views to help drive home the scope . Since Jan. 1, a total of 75,336 wildfires have been detected in Brazil, an 85 percent jump compared to 2018, and an increase of 6,852 fires detected compared to the drought-driven wildfire season in 2016.

Computer Imaging & Analytics                                                                                         In-order to better understand the devastation caused by deforestation & fires over the years and how degraded the Amazon forest has become computer aided imaging is proving to be invaluable.  Here is a time-lapse showing deforestation over the span of a few years, through August 2019, northeast of Jip-Paraná, in the state of Rondonia, Brazil.

Air Power- Firefighting Resources                                                                                      The B747-400 SuperTanker is the true “Next Gen” air tanker. It joins the worlds fleet of aerial firefighting tankers not only as the youngest VLAT (VERY LARGE AIR TANKER) but with almost twice the capacity of the next largest aerial tanker. The two separate, but identical constant flow systems are pressurized which allows for either continuous discharge or up to 8 segmented drops. Coverage levels range from CL2 to CL8 and above. The system is approved for retardant, gel, foam and water drops or the combination of any two of these agents and ground servicing for another sortie takes approximately 30-35 minutes.

What more can be done to protect our rainforest?

We can play a big role in helping to reduce  this wanton devastation of our rainforest which is happening at an alarming rate. Amazon, Kalimantan, Borneo are all at risk. Awareness is the first step. make a decision  to actively support sustainable agriculture, keep the supply chain accountable for how the raw materials are procured. Question beyond the dollar value of your purchase. The environmental & social cost in some cases are so exorbitant that it will be with us for generations.

Can we act today  to protect & sustain our rainforest?

  • Protect an acre of rainforest through the Rainforest Action Network.
  • Help buy land in the rainforest through the Rainforest Trust.
  • Support the rainforest’s indigenous populations.
  • Reduce your paper and wood consumption or buy rainforest safe products through the Rainforest Alliance.
  • Support arts, science, and other projects that raise awareness about the Amazon through the Amazon Aid Foundation.
  • Help protect animals living in the jungle with WWF.
  • If you’re in a position to help protect the rainforest on a Macro-scale, propose & influence ,  trade, distribution, and financing deals that are dependent on protecting the rainforest and sustainability can be a boon to the planet and to people who depend on the rainforest for their livelihoods.