Fire for soybean cultivation: Most forest fires have been raging in the Amazon since 2012

In the Amazon region, the worst fires have been raging in more than ten years.

Fire for soybean cultivation: Most forest fires have been raging in the Amazon since 2012

In the Amazon region, the worst fires have been raging in more than ten years. This is not only due to warmer temperatures. Previously deforested areas are intentionally set on fire. Because of economical reasons.

The worst fires in 12 years have been raging in the Brazilian Amazon. In September, 41,282 fires were registered in the region, according to the Institute for Space Research (Inpe), which is responsible for satellite monitoring. The last time there were more fires in a month was September 2012.

Wildfire season in Brazil runs from June to October. In most cases, the trees are felled first and then the cleared areas are set on fire to create new pastures and farmland for soybean cultivation. According to an analysis from 2021, the area under cultivation for soybeans in South America has doubled from 26,400 to 55,100 square kilometers since 2000.

This was almost always associated with the destruction of nature, researchers report in the journal "Nature Sustainability". The fastest expansion took place in the Brazilian Amazon region, where the area under soybean cultivation increased more than tenfold from 4,000 to 46,000 square kilometers.

According to data from the Brazilian Ministry of Agriculture, agricultural products such as soy go first and foremost to Asia, and there primarily to China, but also to the European Union with countries such as the Netherlands, Spain and Germany. According to the environmental organization WWF, around 80 percent of the soy imported into the EU from other regions is used for animal feed. For most of the animals slaughtered in Germany, soy is a central component of the feed, this applies especially to pigs and poultry.

Because the rainforest in the Amazon region can bind immense amounts of the greenhouse gas CO2, it is also of great importance for the global climate. The topic of environmental and climate protection also plays a role in the presidential election on Sunday. Brazil's right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro sees the Amazon region primarily as an economic potential and wants to open up more land for agriculture and mining. His rival candidate, ex-president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, on the other hand, has promised to strengthen environmental and climate protection in the future. Lula is clearly ahead in the polls.

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