Amazon concentrates 90% of fires in first two months of 2023
SAO PAOLO. KAZINFORM In the first two months of this year, the Amazon biome concentrated 90 percent of the areas with fires. In all, 487 thousand hectares have been affected, according to a report released Monday (Mar. 13) by Fire Monitor, an initiative of the Annual Mapping Project of Land Use and Cover in Brazil (MapBiomas), in partnership with the Amazon Environmental Research Institute (IPAM). In the first two months of 2022, the area affected by fires totaled 654 thousand hectares.
In the country's six biomes—Amazonia, Caatinga, Cerrado, Atlantic Forest, Pampa, and Pantanal—fires have hit the vegetation in 536 thousand hectares. As highlighted by IPAM researcher Vera Arruda, the area is 28 percent smaller than that recorded in the first two months of 2022, Agencia Brasil reports.
According to her, the usual rains in the first months of the year in Brazil generally favor the reduction of fires. «Even so, many hectares are burned in a period of more rain,» says the researcher, who is part of the team responsible for the Fire Monitor project.
Another particularity of the season is the high rate of such incidents in Roraima. The survey shows that the fires in this state have burned 259 thousand hectares, that is, 48 percent of the total identified.
«There is a type of vegetation there that is more similar to the Cerrado. It's not just forests, like most of the Amazon,» Arruda explains. In the states of Mato Grosso and Pará, the fire has reached areas of 90,000 and 70,000 hectares, respectively. Together with Roraima, they account for 79 percent of the fires detected by the project team in the Amazon, a region composed of nine states.
The Cerrado was the second most affected Brazilian biome, where 24 thousand hectares were burned in the period. Fires, caused by the incidence of lightning, naturally occur in the vegetation of this biome from May to July. But human action has also provoked the burning of the vegetation at different times, especially at the height of the dry season between August and September.
Vera Arruda says «when fire occurs naturally, it happens in a spaced way, without burning the same area, repeatedly. But what we see with the Monitor's data is that the frequency of burned areas in the Cerrado is also increasing. This does not allow the vegetation—the ecosystem—to recover,» she explains.