Amazon Fires Destroying Rainforest At Troubling Rate

Amazon fires are destroying the rainforest at a rate of three percent every 10 years. NASA scientists recently calculated that slow-burning fires in the rainforests have led to a major loss of lush vegetation and an increased output of carbon dioxide.

Scientists admit that the Amazon fires are not easy to detect because they creep up on plant material.

NASA researchers claim that the fires are caused more by human acts of carelessness than natural occurrences. Outdoor cooking, stray cigarettes, and the burning of waste products are said to be the major contributing factors for accidental rainforest destruction.

The group says several human created fires led to conflagrations that consumed large swaths of land and plant life.

Amazon fires are most likely to cause destruction when humidity is low and dryness in the rainforest is at its peak period. NASA says, when deforestation was at an all-time high, fires were actually caused less frequency. Current Amazon fires spread inch by inch and remain low to the ground. The fires continue to burn because of heat and general desiccation.

To follow the destruction caused by Amazon fires, a team at NASA uses satellites to track heat signatures and visual cuts throughout the rainforest. Scientists find that fires cause damage but re-growth in vegetation is able to clear up much of the damage within one years times. While vegetation returns to the area, scientists note that air pollution and the greenhouse effect occur as an alarming amount of carbon dioxide is released into the atmosphere.

NASA observers are paying close attention to Amazon fires because of concerns that global temperatures will rise by one degree centigrade in the next generation. While a one degree centigrade increase in temperatures might not seem high, it is enough to cause harsh living conditions for billions of people. One concern is that polar icecaps will continue to melt and cause floods in the lands located directly next to the north and south poles.

Do you think Amazon fires are reason for major concern among the scientific community?

[Image via NASA]