Daniel Beltrá Shares a Collection of Photos of the Burning Amazon Rainforest

Recently, photographs of the Amazon Rainforest burning have been circulation online, with many images going viral. However, debates on Twitter and other social media platforms have claimed that some images that are circulating are not accurate, and that others are several years old. Photographer Daniel Beltrá is here to set the record straight. We believe that it is important for the photographer to have the chance to tell their story in their own words. Daniel Beltrá has shared with us a collection of his photographs of the burning Amazon Rainforest that he has taken over the years, and discusses the stories behind each photo.

Daniel Beltrá is a photographer based in Seattle, Washington. His passion for conservation is evident in images of our environment that are evocatively poignant. His striking, large-scale photographs are shot from the air. This perspective gives the viewer a wider context to the beauty and destruction he witnesses, as well as revealing a delicate sense of scale.

Image: Amazon clearing fire (#87), 2007 by Daniel Beltrá. An aerial photograph of the rainforest burning.

Amazon clearing fire (#87), 2007

“Ground U.S. burned for agriculture rejuvenation after being cleared of Amazon Rainforest in Para State, August, 2007.”

Image: Amazon smoke surrounds tree (#137), 2008. An aerial photo of the rainforest burning. The image shows one sing tree against a golden sky with smoke coming up the bottom.

Amazon smoke surrounds tree (#137), 2008

“A dead tree stands amid smoke from fires set to clear Amazon rainforest in Sao Felix Do Xingu municipality, in Para State, Brazil, August, 2008. Brazil is the fourth largest emitter of greenhouse gases on the planet, with 75% of those coming from the destruction of the rainforest.”

Image: An aerial photograph of the Amazon Rainforest burning. Most of the composition shows gray smoke above treetops.

Amazon clearing fire (#130), 2008.

“Man made fires to clear the secondary forest for agriculture – likely cattle pasture land – in the Sao Felix Do Xingu municipality of Para state, Brazil, August, 2007. Tropical rainforest destruction around the world is the third-largest culprit for greenhouse gas emissions.”

Image: Daniel Beltrá, Amazon Atlantic mangrove coast (#238), 2017. An aerial photograph of the Amazon Rainforest. The trees are all burnt with no leaves.

Amazon Atlantic mangrove coast (#238), 2017

“Inundated mangrove trees on the Atlantic coast near the mouth of the Pará River, near the town of Marudá approximately 90 miles northeast of Belem. Coastal mangrove forests, which have shrunk by 30-50% in the past 50 years, are on the frontline of danger from sea level rise.”

Image: Amazon flooded by dam, (#230), 2017 by Daniel Beltrá. An aerial photograph of a flooded rainforest.

Amazon flooded by dam, (#230), 2017

“Dead trees in flooded forestlands as a result of dam construction on the Rio Araguari, approximately 50 miles north of Macapa.”

Image: Amazon rainforest island (#231), 2017 by Daniel Beltrá. An aerial photograph of the Amazon Rainforest in the middle of the frame, surrounded by praire.

Amazon rainforest island (#231), 2017     

“A remnant of the vast, virgin Amazon rainforest stands in the middle of an agricultural field near the Tapajos River, Brazil, February, 2017, about twelve miles south of Santarem. In the background, slash piles litter the background of a land parcel cleared more recently. From satellite images, this last patch was cleared sometime later that year.”

Image: Amazon Castanheira survivors (#221), 2017 by Daniel Beltrá. An aerial photograph of the Amazon Rainforest with many trees to the right and only a couple on the left.

Amazon Castanheira survivors (#221), 2017.

“A cluster of Castanheira (brazil nut) trees survived deforestation to create an agricultural field about twenty miles south-southwest of Santarem in February 2017. Castanheira trees are protected from logging by Brazilian law, but when deprived of the native ecosystem that they grew from, they weaken and often later die.”

Explore the work of Daniel Beltrá