The world’s forests are burning—and the damage goes far beyond the Amazon

It's not just rain forests that are aflame: Greenpeace estimates that massive blazes in Siberia have released almost as much CO2 as the annual emissions of 36 million cars.
September 25, 2019, 10:30 AM UTC
Map of forest fires

From the Amazon to central Africa, forests are burning. In late August, for example, Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research said that the number of fires in the country—largely set by humans—had jumped 84% this year over the same period in 2018. The amount of Amazon forest cover lost in Brazil in that span spiked 39%. Last year, according to Global Forest Watch, the tropics overall lost some 8.9 million acres of primary rain forest—an area equal to the size of Belgium. But not just rain forests are aflame: Greenpeace estimates that massive blazes in Siberia this year have released more than 166 metric tons of CO2, nearly equal to the annual emissions of 36 million cars.

Sources: NASA; University of Maryland; Global Forest Watch. Fire data is based on satellite imaging and filtered for accuracy.

A version of this article appears in the October 2019 issue of Fortune with the headline “Rain Forests on Fire.”

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