Brazil’s Pantanal Wetland Lost 61 Percent of Its Aquatic Area

So far this year, the Pantanal has recorded 3,372 fire alerts, the highest number since 1998.

On Wednesday, the scientific platform MapBiomas published a study showing that the Pantanal, a gigantic wetland that Brazil shares with Bolivia and Paraguay, lost 61 percent of its water surface due to drought and fires.

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The Pantanal, a biome recognized as a World Heritage Site and considered one of the most biodiverse ecosystems, was affected by a wave of fires in 2023 and is currently facing a new emergency situation.

The MapBiomas study states that the Pantanal is the Brazilian ecosystem that has dried up the most between 1985 and 2023. The water-covered surface in the Brazilian Pantanal reached 382,000 hectares in 2023, which is 61 percent below the historical average.

In 2024, instead of experiencing a peak of floods in the Pantanal, a peak of drought has been recorded, which is expected to last until September. This has led the biome to face severe fires, said Eduardo Rosa, a MapBiomas expert.

Mato Grosso do Sul decreta emergência após incêndios no Pantanal https://t.co/LbFp3LSMOv #MatoGrossodoSul #MS #Pantanal #queimadas #emergencia #estiagem #ICMBio #MapBiomas pic.twitter.com/LpCvfTDqbl

— Ucho.info (@UchoInfo) June 25, 2024

The text reads, “Mato Grosso do Sul decrees emergency after fires in Pantanal.”

So far this year, the Pantanal has recorded 3,372 fire alerts, the highest number since 1998, when the National Institute for Space Research (INPE) began taking measurements.

The MapBiomas study indicates that the water surface in Brazil decreased by 1.5 percent last year, compared to the historical average. This is the second drop in the country’s water surface in 39 years. The last time it happened was in 2021, when it decreased by 7 percent.

The impacts of climate change were also felt in other important Brazilian biomes. One of them is the Amazon, where 62 percent of the surface water of the entire country is concentrated. In 2023, the aquatic surface of this biome experienced a reduction of 3.3 million hectares compared to its historical average.

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— teleSUR English (@telesurenglish) June 26, 2024