MercoPress, en Español

Montevideo, September 24th 2023 - 20:13 UTC



Amazon fires a “tipping point” for the health of rainforests, warns tropical forests organization

Wednesday, August 28th 2019 - 09:55 UTC
Full article 7 comments

The situation in the Amazon is “very urgent,” stressed Gerhard Dieterle, executive director of the International Tropical Timber Organization 
The situation in the Amazon is “very urgent,” stressed Gerhard Dieterle, executive director of the International Tropical Timber Organization

The fires tearing through the Amazon represent a “tipping point” for the health of the rainforest, the head of a top global forestry management body said on Wednesday, urging the world to do more to save the trees.

The situation in the Amazon is “very urgent,” stressed Gerhard Dieterle, executive director of the International Tropical Timber Organization, an intergovernmental agency group that promotes sustainable forestry use.

“This is something that might affect the integrity of the Amazon as a whole, because if the forest fires spread, the grasslands become more prone to forest fires,” Dieterle said on the sidelines of a conference on African development.

“Many experts fear it may be a tipping point” for the rainforest, as the latest figures show a total of more than 82,000 fires blazing in Brazil, even as military aircraft and troops help battle them.

More than half of the fires are in the massive Amazon basin.

Some of the blazes are down to natural causes, Dieterle said, but they are mostly started deliberately by farmers clearing land for agriculture.

“If tropical dense forests are affected by forest fires, they need many, many years to regroup. It will alter the climate, the local climate, the national climate and the regional climate. It will also have an influence on the global climate,” said the forestry expert.

Asked about the G7's US$ 20 million pledge to combat the flames, Dieterle said it was “a beginning but much more is needed.”

“This is the national sovereignty of Brazil ... if they ask for funding, I think the world might be willing to provide more resources,” he said.

Dieterle made his comments on the sidelines of the TICAD conference on African development held in Yokohama near Tokyo.

Earlier he warned delegates that “deforestation and forest degradation continue at an alarming rate in many African countries.”

Given the expected rise in African populations from 1.2 billion today to 4.4 billion by the end of the century, he also sounded the alarm bell over a lack of wood products for construction and cooking.

“In the same way we talk about food security, we need also to talk about 'wood security' and 'water security'. We must focus more on the role and use of productive forests before it is too late,” Dieterle said.

Top Comments

Disclaimer & comment rules
  • DemonTree

    Yes, Brasileiro, we can feed a lot more people by improving productivity and distribution, and cutting down the Amazon could turn Brazil into a desert which would be a disaster.

    But Brazil isn't a champion of the environment. Finland is 73% forest and has 0 deforestation. It's exactly because Brazil has so much forest that the rest of the world is worried about it now.

    Aug 29th, 2019 - 08:46 am +1
  • Terence Hill

    Brazil tops list of countries with highest deforestation rate
    Record fires devastating Amazon forests come under President Jair Bolsonaro's administration

    Aug 28th, 2019 - 11:27 am 0
  • Brasileiro

    Look, I am against deforestation of the Amazon rainforest or any other forest. Human beings are capable of solving the world's food problem by investing in the discovery of technologies that provide greater agricultural productivity.

    Now, wanting to compare deforestation in Brazil with any other country in the world is extremely stupid. 50% of the Brazilian territory is forest, this represents more than 4 million square kilometers. So, of course, here in Brazil the scale dimension is much larger. However, when comparing the percentage of deforestation in relation to the size of the country and the amount of forests it has, Brazil, even under the Bolsonaro government, is a champion of environmental preservation.

    Aug 28th, 2019 - 12:49 pm 0
Read all comments

Commenting for this story is now closed.
If you have a Facebook account, become a fan and comment on our Facebook Page!