Not long ago, the news of large swaths of Brazil’s Amazon Rainforest burning went viral online. However, the reports of the forest fires burning in Bolivia have not been so widely spread, although they are nearly as large as those in Brazil.
Bolivia is a landlocked country in central South America bordered by Brazil on the north and east. The forest fires are occurring in a tropical dry forest called the Chiquitano forest. There are not many dry forests left on the planet, and the Chiquitano forest, though biodiverse, has not been studied much by scientific researchers.
According to NPR, an estimated 6 million acres of forest and grasslands in Bolivia have been burned, an area rivaling that torched in Brazil. Farms and towns have also been affected by the fires, and people have been forced to evacuate certain areas.
Though Bolivia’s current president Evo Morales has vocalized support for protecting the earth, some of the policies he has signed into law have been criticized for being harmful to the environment. For example, one law in particular has allowed farmers to practice “controlled burning” to clear acreage for crops in larger areas than previously permitted.
This devastating loss of one of the most unique ecosystems on earth is further proof of the danger our planet is in as the climate continues to change and people in power continue to make destructive decisions.
To learn more about the Chiquitano tropical dry forest, check out https://www.worldwildlife.org/ecoregions/nt0212
For more details on the forest fires in Bolivia, read this: https://www.npr.org/2019/09/18/761591604/bolivia-is-fighting-major-forest-fires-nearly-as-large-as-brazils
Let’s take care of our planet.