This is in regard to the letter to the editor published Aug. 28, “Trade War sparks Amazon Rain Forest fires.”

I’m shaking my head while reading the   letter. Interesting view of how to blame President Trump for the world’s problems, (i.e. Amazon fires).

 Yes, Brazil’s soybean farmers have triumphed in the U.S.-China trade war while U.S. soybean exports have dropped 17 percent (a small percentage in the overall picture), according to the head of a Brazilian trade promotion agency.

However, soybeans and trade wars are not the cause of the fires.

Blame Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, who has expressed disdain for conserving the Rain Forest. His support for industrial growth has reportedly encouraged ranchers and other business developers to move more brazenly into undeveloped forest land — much of which is indigenous territory (Union-Bulletin Aug 28, A8).

Amazon Rain Forest fires have been going on for decades and the U.S. and other countries have done nothing. The cause? Cattle ranchers not soybean farmers are responsible for as much as 80 percent of the ongoing deforestation of the Amazon rain forest. A significant portion of the global beef supply, including much of the UK’s corned beef supply, originates on land that was once Amazon rain forest and is now denuded. Has the UK stopped importing corned beef? Nope.

“The fire that we’re seeing today is a fire that’s directly related to deforestation,” Ane Alencar, the scientific director of Brazilian NGO IPAM (Institute of Environmental Research in Amazonia), told Forest News website, Mongabay.

These are not wildfires, she said, but rather fires purposely set by people seeking to create cattle ranches, intentionally ignited during the dry season each year.

“They cut the trees, leave the wood to dry and later put fire to it, so that the ashes can fertilize the soil.” Over the last half century, a total area larger than the state of Texas has been lost to deforestation.

As loggers, ranchers, and miners continue to encroach on the ecosystem, the loss is accelerating: Last month, it peaked at a rate of more than three football fields a minute.

 R.S. Ellard

Walla Walla

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