Roughly a quarter of the Pantanal wetland in Brazil, which regulates the water cycle upon which life depends in the region, has burned in wildfires worsened by climate change this year.
The wetland, which is larger than Greece, is one of the most biodiverse places on Earth.

Its swamps, lagoons and tributaries purify water, help prevent floods and droughts, and also store untold amounts of carbon, helping to stabilize the climate.
Ranchers have used fire to clear fields and new land for centuries. But this year, drought worsened by climate change turned the wetlands into a tinderbox and the fires raged out of control.
The fires are also worse than any in the memory of the Guató people, an Indigenous group whose ancestors have lived in the Pantanal for thousands of years.
As the worst flames raged in August and September, biologists, ecotourism guides and other volunteers turned into firefighters. Animal rescue volunteers delivered injured animals to pop-up veterinary triage stations and left food and water for animals to find.
To save the Pantanal, scientists offer solutions:
— Reduce climate change immediately.
— Practice sustainable agriculture in and around the wetland.
— Pay ranchers to preserve forests.
— Increase ecotourism.
— Do not divert the Pantanal’s waters.
“When you wipe out a quarter of a biome, you create all kinds of unprecedented circumstances,” said one expert in biospheric sciences.

Read more on what happens to a rich and unique biome when so much is destroyed:

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17 Oct
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