More than 40% of fires in the Brazilian Amazon this year are burning in standing forests, with more than 4.6 million acres already impacted this year. While far from fully studied, such forest fires have major repercussions for flora and fauna.A study found, for example, that the abundance and types of dung beetle species alters in burned Amazon forests. Dung beetles play vital roles in nutrient cycling and seed dispersal. Other research detected declines in butterflies, specialist forest ant species and other litter-dwelling invertebrates, some birds, small mammals and snakes in newly burnt areas.Rainforest trees are especially vulnerable because fire is relatively new to the Amazon, and trees there have not developed fire resistance. A rainforest fire, burning through the forest for the first time, kills most small trees and seedlings and can kill 50% of large trees.Multiple fires over time continue reducing biodiversity. Some scientists fear that a combination of fires, increasing drought due to climate change, and deforestation could lead to a tipping point — with devastating impacts for the Amazon, which harbors 10% of the world’s biodiversity. The number of fires burning in standing Amazon rainforest spiked dramatically in recent weeks, threatening the forest’s biodiversity — a richness of flora and fauna not adapted to withstand the flames. Of all major fires detected in the Amazon this year, 43% were in standing forests, as of Sept 21, (up from only 13% in August) according to the non-profit MAAP. The forest burned is estimated at roughly 4.6 million acres (1.8 million hectares) — an area about three-fifths the size of Belgium.