Wildfires are raging through Eastern Amazonia and Indonesia, a product of this year's intense El Niño together with land use change and forest clearance pressure. Some things have been written about Indonesia (but not enough), but there has been even less written about what is happening in Amazonia. One exception is this piece in the Conservation by our team member Erika Berenguer and colleague Jos Barlow.
Erika is conducting fieldwork in our carbon monitoring plots near Santarem, and yesterday she reported that two of the plots have just been been burnt through before her eyes. These are forests that are not adapted to fire, so the consequences can be devastating.
The loss is devastating, but Erika is working hard to get the plot reestablished as quickly as possible so we can understand the changes in carbon cycling and process of forest recovery after this event, to better inform our understanding of how tropical forest drought and fire affect the carbon budget of the planet.
Here is a wonderful short clay animation made by some of our students from the Environmental Change and Management MSc class. It is derived from lectures I give on the history of the biosphere and arguments for various start dates for the Anthropocene.
At the end of the module the students get into groups and have to create a "presentation" on a theme from the lectures. Responses ranges from videos to a long rap/poem to a folk band singing songs about nutrient transfer by whales ("Eat Deep, Poop Shallow") and global warming ("Oh no, where did the Ice Age go?")
Very proud of and impressed by this deeply committed but also talented and fun group of students.
Yadvinder Malhi is an ecosytem ecologist and Professor of Ecosystem Science at Oxford University