As I am sure you are all aware by now due to the influx of social media posts the Amazon Rainforest is currently on fire. I've been seeing a lot of posts and for that reason have decided to dive deeper into the potential botanical disturbances. Please note that this is purely focusing on the botanical devastation due to this site being specifically for plant related news/business. I don’t feel comfortable writing about issues that I am not educated nor an expert on, botany is my comfortability so I will stick to this. However, I do need to say in no way shape or form have we chosen to ignore the mass devastation to the indigenous community who reside here, the animal kingdom or the people of Brazil. I’d like to also acknowledge the Indigenous groups that are being directly affected by this event, their immediate suffering and also the fact that this is not a new fight for the Indigenous of Amazonia. This is a really horrible time for humanity and I'd really like to do what I do best and focus on the science I know and share this with you all. So without further a due, read on and I hope you learn something!
We all know that this rain forest is extremely important to our ecosystem, infact it is its own ecosystem. It covers over 5.5 million square kilometres spreading over different parts of the Southern Americas. You've probably seen posts referring it to 'The Lungs of The Earth' and that’s because 20% off the oxygen we have on earth is coming from The Amazon. Although it's nearly uncountable there are over 80,000 plant species in the Amazon. Alongside these plants are the endangered plants such as my personal favourite The Rafflesia Flower in which I will do a blog post on later. The endangerment of these plants could widely effect not only the environment in which home them but the 70,000 species of insects that feed off them. If you know anything about pollination you can imagine the effects of agriculture if even half of these insects disappeared. We are at risk of losing extremely important information from these plants including and not limited to medical research. Because of the 5-6 thousand animal/insect/fish/amphibian species that live in the Amazon a lot of the plants have developed unusual protection methods we don't see with our domesticated plants. Some of the plants have even developed defense mechanism toxins that haven't been discovered yet. Historically when scientists have discovered new defence mechanisms in plants they have led to the discovery of new medicines. The western section of the Amazon Basin has the highest diversity of plants alone, so can you imagine all the potential learnings that could be lost. More importantly, of the 80,000 plant species, 40 Thousand of them play a critical role in regulating the global climate.
Another note to consider botanical wise, is the endangered species that belong to the Amazon. Of the 25,000 Orchid species nearly all of them are either extinct or highly endangered. The Rafflesia Flower which I mentioned I will talk more about later is one of the rarest and endangered flowers in the world, and you guessed it- its native to Brazil. The Kapok Tree in which potentially grows over 100 feet, is one of the most endangered tree species in the world, again Amazon native. The list honestly goes on and in 2015 The Guardian released an article predicating that if the deforestation continues at its growing rate of 57%, 1,500 plant species will go extinct. It is predicted that by 2030 if this current rate continue 27% of the Amazon will not contain trees. So you can understand the mass devastation when a fire blows through like the one that is going on at the moment. At the rate this fire is going, it would take 1 Day, 10 Hours, 26 Minutes & 21 Seconds for Dubbo to be entirely wiped out. Everything from the airport, to out past Richmond Estate would be totally gone. I urge you to consider this next time we all purchase plants online, and think about what you could do to make sure the plants outside your home survive. Awareness is important and I hope that this message gets shared around, however let’s do something about it. I’ve linked below some of the world organisations taking donations; it’d be great to see action behind the sharing of social media posts. We will be doing some work behind the scenes here of The Western Jungle Co and hope to be a part of making a change.