The Amazon Rainforest is often referred to as "the earth's lungs." Since the rainforest produces a whopping 20% of the oxygen on our planet, it's a fitting nickname. That's why scientists and environmentalists are ringing the alarm this week. Forest fires are ravaging the Amazon, and the consequences will be devastating.
A record number of fires, over 72,000, have been detected in the world's largest rainforest this year. Brazil's National Institute for Space Research reports that's an 83% increase from last year. Environmental groups say the policies of Brazil's president, Jair Bolsonaro, encourage deforestation of the Amazon, which, in turn, allows for more fires.
According to the WWF, rainforest is also home to one in 10 known species on Earth, 40,000 plant species, 3,000 freshwater fish species, more than 370 types of reptiles, and more than 30 million people.