From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Pantanal Wetlands
Mains level : Not Much
Pantanal, the world’s largest tropical wetlands is facing a severe crisis due to wildfires and climate change.
- The Pantanal is a natural region encompassing the world’s largest tropical wetland area, and the world’s largest flooded grasslands.
- It is located mostly within the Brazilian and extends to some portions of Bolivia and Paraguay.
- It sprawls over an area estimated at between 140,000 and 195,000 square kilometer.
- Roughly 80% of the Pantanal floodplains are submerged during the rainy seasons, nurturing a biologically diverse collection of aquatic plants and helping to support a dense array of animal species.
- Unlike the Amazon rainforest, vegetation in the Pantanal has evolved to coexist with fire — many plant species there require the heat from fires to germinate.
- Often caused by lightning strikes, those natural fires spring up at the end of the dry season, but the surrounding floodplains prevent them from spreading.
- What’s different now is the drought, contributing further to the unusually dry conditions and exacerbating the fire risk.