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Care to Click: The rainforest blog

Amazon Rainforest: Hidden wildfire a contributing factor to deforestation

wildfireNASA scientists recently released a new study finding wildfire to be a much bigger contributor to deforestation in the Amazon Rainforest that previously thought.
 
With all the studies about deforestation in the Amazon Rainforest, why is this information only now being discovered?
 
Apparently these wildfires are essentially hidden wildfires.
 
An “understory wildfire” burns beneath the Amazon Rainforest canopy, never reaching the tree tops. By burning on the floor of the rainforest, these wildfires can't be seen by satellites, and people on the ground rarely see more than a wisp of smoke escaping the tree tops.
 
The wildfire burns slowly but can last for weeks at a time, consuming a few feet per minute. They often don't kill the trees immediately as they burn, but many of the Amazon Rainforest trees aren't as resilient as trees in other parts of the world. As a result, they don't recover as quickly and often never recover.
 
How big is the wildfire problem? The study found that in 2005, 2007 and 2010 the area of the Amazon Rainforest affected by understory fires was greater than the amount of deforestation prompted by agriculture.
 
That finding doesn't let humans off the hook, though. Like other areas of the globe prone to forest fires, actions from humans (careless cigarette smoking, unattended campfires, backfiring cars) can start the understory fires – especially during the dry season.
 
NASA also believes climate change has prompted drier than normal conditions at times, which made ignition of a wildfire more likely. And despite the fact that NASA didn't find a significant link between agricultural deforestation of the Amazon Rainforest and these hidden wildfires, that doesn't mean efforts to contain agricultural deforestation should diminish.
 
Care To Click wants to ensure the Amazon Rainforest lives and breathes for millions of years to come. Action prompted by the data contained in this NASA study should help that cause.
 
If you would like to help preserve the world's rainforests, we invite you to visit the Care To Click Rainforest page, where you can donate a free click or print useful coupons. At CareToClick.com, your small, free actions prompt our donations to help preserve the rainforests.
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