Vaishnavi Behl reports for Condé Nast Traveler:
As Amazon burns, another disaster is unfolding in Bolivia
With the world’s attention turned towards Brazil’s blazing Amazon, forests in neighbouring Bolivia are silently burning. One million hectares of forest land have been destroyed, largely due to uncontrolled slash-and-burn farming. Per experts, more than two years’ worth of damage has been done in less than a week. The Chiquianto forests, one of the most biologically diverse dry forests in the world, is home to unique types of flora and fauna endemic to the region and over 500 such species have been put under “extreme risk”. According to experts, it will take upwards of two centuries to reverse the destruction done to the landscape.
The fires have exacerbated the scarcity of water in a region that already faces a hard drought, endangering the lives of several people and leaving many others without access to water. According to Greenpeace, the Latin American fires could have serious meteorological consequences not only for the region, but also for the rest of the world, due to the increase in greenhouse emissions.
Since then, a new environmental emergency cabinet has been established to combat the fires, But for most Bolivians, it’s a little too little, too late.