The Amazon Rainforest under ThreatBreaking News
tags: Brazil, Amazon, indigenous people, Jair Bolsonaro, wildfires
Stanley E. Blake is an Associate Professor in the Department of History at the Ohio State University.
The deforestation of the Amazon has global implications. If current rates of loss continue, approximately a quarter of the region will be treeless by 2030 and conversion from forest to savanna will accelerate. Such deforestation would affect global atmospheric and oceanic carbon levels because the Amazon would no longer act as a carbon sink. The disappearance of the rainforest also threatens the region’s indigenous peoples with a loss of ancestral lands and livelihood and native species with habitat loss and localized extinction.
To understand the fires in the Amazon and the Bolsonaro government’s indifference, it is essential to understand the history of the human presence in the region and the ways in which in-migration and settlement, economic development, and government policies have led to the transformation of the Amazon.
Against this backdrop, Bolsonaro’s policies are nothing new, but rather a continuation of 500 years of efforts to colonize and develop the region.