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Brazil’s president Jair Bolsonaro has signed a decree banning land-clearing fires in the wake of the Amazon blazes.
The Amazon, which is home to around one million indigenous people and three million species of plants and animals, has seen a record number of fires this year, with the National Institute for Space Research (Inpe), detecting 72,843 fires between January and August, an 84 percent increase compared to the same period in 2018.
And according to forestry expert Tasso Azevedo, a forest engineer and environmentalist, the ‘worst is yet to come’, saying those clearing the forest have left felled vegetarian to dry out, and will set further fires.
Many conservations and scientists have blamed Bolsonaro for the fires, as he pledged to develop the region for farming and mining when he took office in January, despite the warnings of conservationists around deforestation.
According to reports, the decree will ban setting fires to clear land across the entire country, with three exceptions. These are when environmental authorities authorise fires, in preventative cases to fight wildfires, and when indigenous people are carrying out traditional subsistence agriculture.
Many environmentalists are reportedly unsure of whether the ban will have an impact – as they say the majority of forest clearance fires in the rainforest are illegal – and laws are often not enforced