The destruction of the Amazon, explained

The 2019 fires were just the tip of the iceberg.

The Amazon rainforest has been reduced by about 17% since the 1970s. Cattle ranchers, loggers, and farmers are mostly to blame for the deforestation, but the demand driving them comes from all around the world. Brazil's economy depends on agriculture, especially beef and soy, which is grown on cleared land in the Amazon. Today, president Jair Bolsonaro, is weakening the environmental protections there in order to give agriculture more power. This came to a head when, in summer 2019, more than 30,000 wildfires burned in the Amazon, sparking worldwide outrage.

Here are some sources I found particularly helpful while reporting for this story:

Nepstad, et al. 2014 https://science.sciencemag.org/content/344/6188/1118

Umair Irfan, Vox: https://www.vox.com/science-and-health/2019/11/18/20970604/amazon-rainfo...

The Intercept: https://theintercept.com/2019/07/06/brazil-amazon-rainforest-indigenous-...

Vox.com is a news website that helps you cut through the noise and understand what's really driving the events in the headlines. Check out http://www.vox.com.

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