The Amazon has been under siege for many years but since 2019, fires and massive deforestation has led to approximately 10,000 square kilometres being lost each year. Previously, research focussed on vegetation destroyed but the focus of new research was on lost biodiversity. Published in Nature, a scientific study details just how biodiversity has been impacted using satellite images to compare areas affected which contained 3,079 species of animals and 11, 514 species of plants.
The results of the study revealed that for some of the species approximately 60% of habitat had been burned and lost during the last twenty years. For other species, approximately 10% was lost. This percentage of habitat is enough to impact the survival of the species affected and primates were found to be most at risk. The situation has worsened since President Bolsonaro came into office with the continuation of forest destruction, and mining.
Scientists across the world are clear as to what is needed to restore the Amazon and to protect vital habitat of millions of animal and plant species. Much stronger commitment to environmental needs, greater law enforcement, and monitoring of the forest is needed.
Feng, X., Merow, C., Liu, Z. et al. How deregulation, drought and increasing fire impact Amazonian biodiversity. Nature 597, 516–521 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41586-021-03876-7