In the Amazon rainforests of Brazil, a new Study has revealed the crucial role played by indigenous forests in protecting the region’s environment from the harmful impacts of wildfires. Researchers found that these forests act as natural filters, absorbing noxious fumes while also preventing the spread of diseases that can arise from wildfire outbreaks. With the help of data collected from 2010 to 2019, the study revealed that these indigenous forests have the annual potential to soak up about 7,000 tons of toxic gases and 26,00 metric tonnes of PM2.5 released into the atmosphere due to forest fires.
The study’s findings highlight the significant role that indigenous communities play in preserving the Amazon rainforest’s biodiversity and ecological balance. Not being a natural element of the rainforest, these wildfires are caused due to illegal mining and deforestation activities. Moreover, wildfires can have severe health consequences for the indigenous communities living in and around the forest. Smoke and toxic gases can cause respiratory illnesses, skin rashes, and other health problems, which can have long-term implications for those affected. While occupying only 22 percent of the Amazon rainforest, these indigenous forests can soak up to 27 percent of the pollutants; therefore, ridding the country of over 15 million cases of respiratory and cardiovascular disorders each year, relieving the country’s healthcare expenses by almost $2 billion.
Due to the rough texture and larger surface area, the leaves of these indigenous forests are capable of capturing large amounts of pollutants from the surrounding air, which makes these forests a natural air purifier while simultaneously acting as massive carbon sinks. The study suggests that by protecting indigenous forests, we can safeguard the Amazon rainforest’s ecosystem and the communities that depend on it. Furthermore, the research highlights the critical role played by traditional knowledge and practices in preserving the forest’s unique biodiversity. Indigenous communities have lived in the Amazon rainforest for almost 12,000 years, and their knowledge and practices have helped to sustain the forest’s complex ecosystem.
By working with these communities, and learning from their traditional knowledge and practices, Brazil can develop strategies to protect the Amazon rainforest’s biodiversity. By recognizing the significance of these natural protectors and working with indigenous communities, it can develop strategies to safeguard the forest’s biodiversity and ecological balance for generations to come.