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2019 in review: The Amazon burned. What happened — and what happens now?

© Alix Millet

Nature saw its ups and downs in 2019, and Conservation News was there for it all. This month, we are revisiting some of the most interesting and significant stories and issues we covered in the past year. 

Our most-read stories of 2019 were about the fires that raged across the southern Amazon in August and September. Perhaps no other nature story of 2019 — a year full of environmental news — captivated the world’s attention quite like the fires. 

The wildfires that tore through the Amazon pushed the rainforest ever closer to its “tipping point,” at which the forest could irretrievably degrade into drylands. Conservation News delved into the central role politics played in the catastrophe — and why the actions of several countries offer a bold promise of hope for the region. 

Read more here.

August 2019 was one of the worst months for fires in the Amazon in five years. Conservation International experts explained just what made the 2019 fire season different — and whether it’s possible to restore areas of the forest that have already burned.

Find answers here.

After sifting through the ashes of the Amazon fires, science and policy experts at Conservation International uncovered the underlying driver that fueled the flames: deforestation. Conservation News spoke to these experts to determine how we can protect the forests to prevent future fires.

Read more here.

The French government in September 2019 boosted a new South American-led initiative — known as the Leticia Pact — to protect the Amazon, committing US$ 100 million in support. This pact was formed between seven of the nine Amazonian countries to address deforestation, fires and sustainable development in the world’s largest rainforest.

Read more here.

Kiley Price is a staff writer at Conservation International. Want to read more stories like this? Sign up for email updates here. Donate to Conservation International here.

Cover image: The Amazon rainforest burning in 2019, Guyana. (© Alix Millet)