Karine Berbert - Geographer (umgrauemeio)
The state of Mato Grosso encompasses three Brazilian biomes, namely the Amazon, the Cerrado, and the Pantanal, as well as being the location of several protected areas, national parks, and indigenous lands. However, despite the extreme importance of these biomes for ecosystem balance and the subsistence of many people and communities, the state is experiencing high rates of non-natural burning and deforestation, which will be explored further below.
According to data provided by Mapbiomas' fire scar mapping, from 2018 to 2020, the burned areas in these three years totaled 7 million hectares, almost twice the size of the state of Rio de Janeiro. The worst year in this series was 2019, registering over 3 million hectares burned. This also means emission of greenhouse gases that aggravate the climate crisis.
In addition to the data on burned areas, hotspots detected by satellites also corroborate with the presented critical situation. The INPE Burn Database points out that in 2019, more than 700,000 hotspots occurred in the state of Mato Grosso. Certain regions of the state have higher concentrations of occurrences, also associated with the concentration of burned areas.
Many of these burns occur illegally, being intentionally caused by anthropic activities. Forested areas are illegally burned to be converted into pastures or agricultural lands, and the state also faces the problematic issue of illegal mining.
The environmental agenda and the future of Brazilian biomes need to receive due attention, and we must understand the importance and impacts that forest fires can have on human health and the environment.