Fire isn’t new to the Pantanal, the biggest tropical wetland in the world. But this year, the flames are out of control. More than 22% of the Pantanal has gone up in smoke since January 2020, and the blazes show no signs of stopping . . . ↠Subscribe: shorturl.at/wBNSW
Is this all just the result of climate change? The answer: no. Human activity such as deforestation and cattle ranching is encroaching on this precious ecosystem and causing it permanent damage. We take a closer look at the threats and ask what the future might hold for the Pantanal.
For more in our wildfires series, check out our video on the background to California’s fires. And please do subscribe and sign up for alerts if you haven’t already done so!
Volunteers coming to rescue jaguars, other animals injured during Brazil’s wildfires. The destruction of the world’s largest tropical wetland may endanger biodiversity and cut off vital resources for wildlife and people. By Jill Langlois, published October 2, 2020. National Geographic.
Map 1: Burned area in the Pantanal biome – Brazil (2019). Source: Laboratory for Environmental Satellite Applications (LASA)
Map 2: Burned area in the Pantanal biome – Brazil (2020). Source: Laboratory for Environmental Satellite Applications (LASA)
Map 3: Potential cattle head density per cattle ranch in the Brazilian Pantanal wetland, based on pasture and grassland vegetation maps, extracted from MapBiomas v 3.1, the total area of pasture per property, the occupation rate of cattle heads per municipality, and the size of the property. Source: Sustainability Agenda for the Pantanal Wetland: Perspectives on a Collaborative Interface for Science, Policy, and Decision-Making – Scientific Figure on ResearchGate.
Alho CJR, Silva JSV. Effects of severe floods and droughts on wildlife of the Pantanal wetland (Brazil)—A review. Animals. 2012; 2: 591–610. pmid: 26487165
Sustainability Agenda for the Pantanal Wetland: Perspectives on a Collaborative Interface for Science, Policy, and Decision-Making – Scientific Figure on ResearchGate.
Percentage change in Brazilian land use (agriculture/fores), MapBiomas Project – Collection 5.0 of the Annual Coverage and Land Use