Can ecotourism reduce Amazon forest fires?

Amazon forest fires

The Amazon rainforest, dubbed by the world as the world’s lungs, has been burning annually for decades. They have been natural fires caused mainly by the rising temperatures of summer.

But the Amazon forest fires in 2022 that led to the ‘dark day’ over Sao Paulo took the world by storm.

For the first time, people speculated that such a disaster might have deeper roots than ‘natural causes.’

Another shocking aspect was the flippant response of Brazil’s president Jair Bolsonaro, who rejected the offers of help from major countries.

The president told the helpers to mind their own business. He will use aid money as he sees fit, not only quench the Amazon forest fires.

This response solidified the notion that the burning rainforest is an underhanded scheme for clearing the forest for human establishments.

To protect the world from suffering the aftershocks of the destruction of its ‘lungs,’ people have been trying several schemes, like ecotourism, to save the environment.

How can this scheme protect millions of miles of the area from burning? Let’s dig in.

How can we save the Amazon rainforest from burning?

The burning rainforest is not a new concept. Although the fires are not likely to start themselves, they have been ignited by people to clear the forest for personal benefits every year.

Between August and October is considered the optimal time for ‘deforestation fires.’ These fires are how people have turned the ‘green hell’ into a human hub.

If the fires are an annual thing, why are they ringing alarm bells now? The simple answer lies in their intensity. Every year the Amazon is burning at a larger and more intense scale.

For decades the Amazon rainforest has been termed the ‘green hell‘ because of its predatory style. It was hard to navigate and manipulate to fit human criteria. Humans have decided to burn it to the ground to suit their needs as a last resort.

Many have come to the Amazon and are perpetually in awe of its beauty. Mark Baker is the forerunner in his reverence for the forest. His love for nature is how he devised ‘eco tours’ to preserve nature and expand the local communities without cutting down the forest. He began by building a boat.

Tucano, his boat, was purposefully built to be an explorer’s vessel. Not lacking in modern-day conveniences, this boat is focused on conserving and reutilizing energy and minimizing pollution. This boat considers the tropical biology of the Amazon by using solar panels, sun-heated water tanks, and electric motors,

‘We behave to minimize the impact.’ Baker says. Baker and his team consider ecotourism a standard way to sustain the local population without destroying the rainforest.

How much of Amazon Forest is burning, Source: NatGeo

What is ecotourism?

Ecotourism is responsible travel. It aims to conserve the endangered regions by developing people’s interest in conserving the natural habitat and supporting the community.

A significant aim of ecotourism in the Amazon rainforest is to discourage deforestation. Some other hallmarks are conserving the natural flora and fauna and boosting the local produce.

Safe touring can help prevent the destruction of natural sites like the Amazon. Ecotourism provides the locals with employment opportunities.

Eco touristic services utilize the areas inhabited by the established communities as spaces for tourists.

A trip is not only made memorable by the location but also by the community. A person living closely with the locals, partaking in their daily activities, will have a much more memorable experience than theme parks or hotels designed to cater to the tourist’s tastes.

Enjoying nature in all its glory and preserving the endangered localities to the best of our abilities is the true essence of ecotourism.

How can we use the Amazon rainforest sustainably?

Ecotourism can help conserve the rainforest while providing opportunities to the people to sustain their communities. Following are some ways a trip can be ‘responsible’ while still being ‘pleasurable.’

Forest floor tours

Amazon has one of the largest varieties of wildlife on its forest beds. It is a home for thousands of creatures. In the twenty-first century, people are more used to the concrete views of metropolitans.

Such an intimate natural tour, well connected to the roots of the earth, will undoubtedly be an unforgettable experience for anyone.

Kayak tours

The rainforest is famous for its rivers. They are famous for their ‘milky brown‘ color. The tourists can ride a wooden kayak through the serene waters in the middle of the natural river pathways. This way, they can experience a closeup of the rare marine life of the Amazon.

Tribal tours

Cultural heritage is a central concept in ecotourism. It aims at a rich cultural experience by staying among the locals. A five-star hotel will never compare to living in their space and enjoying food and life with them.

A person can learn a lot from the natives of the rainforest. For the tourists, such an experience will ignite the hidden geek with a taste for adventures.

Wildlife photography

What better way to capture animals than in their habitat? The Amazon rainforest provides the perfect sanctuary for all the Instagram-worthy shots.

However, the destruction of the rainforest has pushed many species out of their homes to their untimely deaths. Ecotourism aims at preserving their homeland and providing them safety in their homes.

The Amazon rainforest has faced new enemies every decade since it was discovered in the late 1500s.

First by people’s search for land and gold and then by bulldozers and chainsaws. Now it faces the threat of burning to ashes. Like every natural habitat, the Amazon is vital to our ecosystem’s structure.

We cannot put out the fires manually, but we can prevent people from starting them.

Preserving the only planet we have, is vital for our future. Ecotourism could not only be the first step toward developing healthy practices, but it can also be the first step towards extinguishing the decades of Amazon forest fires.

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