Fire in Paradise: Declaration of World Scientists

We scientists of the world, coming from across all disciplines and working across a wide range of subjects and themes, round the world, express herewith our concerns with the extensive fires which have been taking place in the Amazon Rainforests and in the Pantanal Region (shared by Brazil, Bolivia and Paraguay), the planet's largest tropical wetland.

Our concern is particularly related to the fact that both ecosystems have been affected by man-made fires over the past years.  This is especially so this year, 2020, where a new record of fires has been broken, adding to a very worrying trend, with record levels of destruction. We are also concerned about the consequences of these fires to fauna, flora, the integrity of habitats and the well being and livelihoods of local communities, now and in the future.

We, as scientists,  cannot  ignore this problem and urgently request the Brazilian Government to:

1. Adopt urgent measures to fight the fires now, providing the Amazon states and the states of Mato Grosso and Mato Grosso do Sul with the materials and resources needed to cope with the current fires, and get them under control.

2. Reverse the decision to reduce the budget of the Brazilian national environmental protection institute (IBAMA),  so that it can afford the materials and manpower needed to better monitor land use, impose the fines as specified in the current legislation, and bring to justice those responsible for setting fires as a means of expanding their properties. It is not acceptable that biodiversity be destroyed to the advantage of cattle growth and agriculture products such as soya beans.

3. Support the work of the many Brazilian scientists and non-governmental organisations daily working in Brazil, to rescue and save the thousands of animals whose habitats are being consumed by the fires.

4. Prepare and implement a biodiversity and social recovery plan,
  which may handle the many ecological and social consequences of the fires in the short, medium and long term.

5. Actively  support the implementation of existing legislation on fire prevention and control, including strenghtening the organisations responsible for them.

The Amazon Rainforests and the Pantanal are two key biomas, which entail a variety of ecosystems vital to human and planetary health.  Brazil should be the guardian of these valuable resources,  and the Brazilian Government needs to do all it  can, to safeguard them.

RSVP Research and Transfer Centre "Sustainable Development and Climate Change Management",  Hamburg University of Applied Sciences, Germany.

If you feel you can endorse the declaration, please fill in the details on the form.