The fires that are plaguing the Amazon have become a worldwide concern. The year 2019 is being a black year in terms of fires across the planet. For example, in the Canary Islands of Spain there was a series of really devastating fires. However, as tragic as the picture may be, ecosystem recovery may take a few decades.
But the magnitude of what is happening in the Amazon rainforest is so great that it can become unrecoverable. Hence the media impact they are having is so important. All the attention of the world is on the devastating consequences that the various fires that are consuming much of the Amazon jungle can have.
And it must be taken into account that the territory of the Amazon is equivalent to the largest green lung on the planet. Not only does it provide oxygen, but it also retains CO2 rates, contributing to balance the planet’s temperature.
The point of view of Victor Resco de Dios
So what happens with the fires in this territory of the world, will end up affecting in general terms the rest of the planet. The professor of Forest Fires and Global Change of the University of Lleida, Victor Resco de Dios, said in an article published in The Conversation, that the forests of the Amazon have historically developed with a really low frequency of fires.
For example, it is estimated that fires were occurring once every 500 or 1,000 years. This period of time gives enough strength for the rainforests to expand. That is, there are ancient trees, which will take centuries to reach the same robustness and create the same current ecosystem. That is, there are hundreds of native species in the area that are not adapted to recover from a fire of this magnitude.
Meanwhile in Spain, according to the fossil record, it is proven that the Canary Islands had been facing fires in that territory. Even before the human being made a presence in this area. So, according to Victor Resco de Dios, the species are more adapted for recovery after the fires.
We must understand how fires devastate the area
To the above it should be added that the way in which fires spread varies according to the climate and the vegetation itself. In the case of a tropical forest, the level of the flame can reach a devastation of 150 meters per day. It is a type of slow devastation, where the flame is low, managing to devour logs and roots more intensely.
So the impact is not only because of the number of trees, but also affects seeds, leaf litter and the uppermost layers of the soil. That way the soil is completely impoverished. This is what happens in the Amazon, while in Spain the situation is completely different.
In the Canary Islands it is known that the llamas have reached a 50-meter type of flame and the devastation exceeds 10,000 hectares. But luckily for the Spanish forests of the Canary Islands, the species that faced the disaster are more genetically prepared to face their recovery. They are species adapted to fires over the millennia.
The great problem of the Amazon
In the Amazon, the fauna and flora is very diverse. The recovery process of all this fauna may require several hundred, if not millennia. And it is also necessary to take into account that the same fire could have put several species into extinction.
The Amazon also offers great contrasts against its climate and vegetation. The forest territory is not always the same, but it diversifies and creates unique areas. The accessibility to these areas is also not easy enough to achieve.
On the other hand, in Spain, with the rapid humanitarian action, not only can the effect of fires be reduced, but it is also possible to implement planting strategies that are much easier to fulfill. There is even talk that the ecosystem regenerates itself without the need for human intervention.
Victor Resco de Dios refers precisely to the fact that the Canary pine has the virtue of regrowth. So the landscape can be restored again in a matter of five years.
The fate of the Amazon
According to other forestry experts, the future of the Amazon depends on deforestation policies and practices that are undertaken in this territory of the planet. Climate change can negatively affect the restoration process of this area of the world.
If there is no adequate control over the region that represents the Amazon, which is more than 8,000 kilometers, the ecosystem will continue to wilt. A complete revolution on the part of governments and organizations will be needed so that their ancient diversity flourishes again in this territory.