Environment

In Brazil’s rainforests, the worst fires are likely still to come

In Brazil’s rainforests, the worst fires are likely still to come
Wildfires are closely linked to deforestation

The number of fires in the Amazon rainforest this year is the highest since 2010, reaching more than 90,000 active blazes. Farmers and ranchers routinely use fire to clear their land in the dry season, but this year’s numbers reflect a worrisome uptick in the rate of deforestation, which dropped around 2005 before rebounding earlier this decade.

Many people blame the Brazilian government and its pro-agriculture policies for the current crisis. But as an environmental researcher who has worked in the Amazon for the past 25 years, I can say the seeds were planted before the election of...

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