Hot Topic: African Fires vs Brazilian Fires

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It’s not a competition. While catastrophic fires in the Amazon rainforest made global headlines, NASA has noted that right now there are actually many more fires in parts of Africa than in Brazil.

Again, it is not a competition but is there a double standard? Are world leaders ignoring an even larger environmental disaster in Africa, or are the Amazon fires being highlighted as a handy way to criticise a Brazilian leader already unpopular among environmentalists?

The reality is, African flora and fauna are used to these grassland fires. If anything, they thrive on it. Fires in Africa lead up to 30% more diverse mammal communities and 40% more diverse bird communities.

And equally importantly, fires in the savannah burn mainly dry grasses that regrow each year: the CO₂ released by fires in grasslands is reabsorbed by the growth of new grass the next year, meaning such fires are nearly carbon-neutral within a year.

In contrast, South American fires occur in an environment that is largely warm and wet. As the plants and animals of these forests are not fire adapted, many die and the ecosystem may take decades to recover. Equally, and in stark contrast to fires in grassland ecosystems, the carbon released by the fires will take decades to be re-absorbed, meaning forest fires have a huge impact on global emissions.

Yes we should be concerned about the fires in Brazil but let’s not forget, Africa also faces challenges with fires.

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About Author

Born in Zimbabwe and living in South Africa, Miriro is a seasoned publishing editor and writer, having worked with leading brands in investment, business leadership and entrepreneurship. Passionate about Africa’s development, Miriro is also a dynamic marketing consultant with 10 years experience working with startups and large multinational corporations. With a heart for travel, Miriro spends her time discovering the nooks of crannies of Africa’s hidden gems, taking the roads less travelled, meeting the beautiful people and enjoying their food and culture. She enjoys tackling complex strategic challenges in the passion-to-entrepreneurship pipeline, particularly focused on the implications of 4th Industrial Revolution and workforce automation on Africa's travel and tourism industry. Miriro is currently the Managing Editor of Nomad Africa magazine.

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