The process could turn once-moist jungles into dry wastelands, killing ancient trees, making them more vulnerable to future fires and releasing millennia of trapped carbon into the air.
Barlow started working in the Brazilian Amazon in 1998, a time when the smoke and flames of forest fires shut down airports, increased hospitalizations, caused blackouts, and cost the country $5 billion in damages.
the smoke and flames of forest fires shut down airports, increased hospitalizations, caused blackouts, and cost Brazil $5 billion
In 2018, for example, a group of Brazilian scientists discovered that once-burned forests across the Amazon hold 25 percent less carbon than those that were not set ablaze, even after 31 years of regrowth.
Once a patch of forest burns, Barlow explains, it’s more likely to go up in flames again with renewed force, which is why preventing the fires from spreading and from occurring in the future should be a top priority.