Fires in Amazon Rain Forest Have Surged This Year – The New York Times

Deforestation of the Amazon has increased rapidly since Mr. Bolsonaro, who was elected in October, took office and his government cut back on efforts to confront illegal activity in the rain forest. Critics say Mr. Bolsonaro’s policies have emboldened loggers, farmers and miners who want to clear out land illegally.

Mikaela Weisse, a manager of Global Forest Watch, a program for the World Resources Institute, an environmental research group, said the rate in the number of fires detected by satellite images this year was roughly comparable to 2016.

“It is definitely something to be concerned about, especially with more research coming out about reaching a tipping point,” she said in an interview, referring to the point at which parts of the Amazon would no longer have forests and turn to savanna.

The fires burning now are mostly happening in previously deforested areas, most likely related to agricultural practices, she said.

“Natural fires are very rare in the Amazon, so all, or almost all, the fires we are seeing are set by humans,” Ms. Weisse said.

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