Much of the world used to be covered with trees. But most of the world's ancient forests have been cut down.
Whether through clearing of land for agriculture, legal or illegal logging, or expansion of human living spaces - deforestation has had a broad impact on our planet. Many human populations and animal species depend on forests, while the trees themselves have even become threatened or endangered.
Stretching across the northern half of South America, the Amazon isn't just contained to Brazil, and neither are its ongoing fires. According to official numbers, fires have burned more than one million hectares of dry forest and farmland across the border in Bolivia. We hear from those affected by the fires, including firefighters risking their lives to control the flames.
Brazil's Ministry of Defense has authorized some 40,000 troops to take part in operations to combat the blazing wildfires. Smoke from the fires has covered the city of Porto Velho and brought protesters into the streets.
Just outside of Bogota in Colombia, scientists have amassed a collection of over 20,000 animal sounds that are being used to study everything from climate change to deforestation and urbanization. Environmental sound study has largely been overlooked by most researchers up until now. But, as high school kids in Colombia are learning, it could be a vital tool in conserving precious ecosystems.
Organizers said some 100,000 people, mostly women, had attended the demonstration in the capital, Brasilia. Protesters slammed populist President Jair Bolsonaro, whom they labeled "misogynist, racist and homophobic.”
This week on Living Planet, we take a look at forests and how we use land. What benefits do trees provide? What happens when we lose them in places like the Amazon? And how do we make sure we have enough forested land? Also, a landmark report from the IPCC warns that we have to change the ways in which we use land if we are to mitigate climate change and achieve global food security.