Human interventions killing Amazon

header scientia1

A study has revealed that human intervention is having a catastrophic effect on the Amazon river, which is losing huge amounts of surface water every year. Massive deforestation, hydropower dams, and climate change are killing the Amazon and destroying the ecosystem it has nurtured.
Carried out by WWF-Brazil and the Man and Environment Institute of Amazonia (Imazon) – as part of the MapBiomas Project and with the support of Google Earth Engine – the study titled “Long-Term Annual Surface Water Change in the Brazilian Amazon Biome: Potential Links with Deforestation, Infrastructure Development and Climate Change” reveals that the Amazon is losing as much as 350 sq km of surface freshwater every year on average. It took the researchers 33 years to come up with the analysis during which they relied on images from Landsat satellites collected from 1985 to 2017, new data processing technology and dedicated research.
The most visible signs of human intervention are found in the “deforestation arch” in southern Amazon, and the areas worst affected are the lagoons and floodplains that form from the ebb and flow of the water. This loss of habitat impacts the existence of the freshwater dolphins, fish, turtles and many other species that depend on these sites to breed. These are the cradles of life in the Amazon, essential for maintaining the biodiversity.
Researchers feel that what’s needed to save the river is strategic environmental macroplanning, which not only gauges the impact of larger structures, but also the cumulative impact of thousands of small projects that can affect the environmental services provided by a particular water basin. The Amazon offers diverse services to communities such as supplying water to the local populations for animal husbandry, agricultural production, and livestock raising. It’s also responsible for food security and tourism.
This new study could pave the way for regular annual monitoring of the region’s water bodies, including rivers, lakes and floodable wetlands. An ecologically healthy Amazon benefits all as it can continue to deliver its products and services from its land and aquatic ecosystems. Hours after being sworn in on January 1, 2019, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro signed an executive order that shifted the nation’s ability to create and regulate indigenous areas from the National Indian Foundation (FUNAI) to the agricultural ministry.
For more than 50 years, FUNAI had been charged with protecting Brazil’s 300-plus indigenous tribes and the forest they inhabit. Meanwhile, the agriculture ministry is seen as having a deep conflict of interest: It wants access to indigenous lands to expand Brazil’s powerful agroindustry. The environmental impacts of this move could be far-reaching. Scientists and officials increasingly view indigenous peoples among the best defenders of intact ecosystems, such as the Amazon rainforest. But with the fate of the indigenous tribes becoming uncertain, the health of the river is also showing rapid decline.
The Amazon is the second largest river in the world in terms of length, next only to the Nile. However, both the length of the Amazon and its ultimate source have been subjects of debate since the mid-20th century, and there are those who claim that the Amazon is actually longer than the Nile. About 20 per cent of Earth’s fresh water that enters the oceans comes from Amazon.

About The Author

Related posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

scientia main