Out of the Flames Mapping Online Engagement and Public Narratives Around the 2019 Amazon Rainforest Fires

Liliana Bounegru, Jonathan Gray, Rina Tsubaki, Gabriele Colombo, Yitagesu Tegegne
Published on

Under NewGo!, a start-up project of EFI’s Governance Programme funded by the German Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL), Out of the Flames aimed to gain deeper insights into online engagement and public narratives around forest governance, driven by a case study on the 2019 Amazon rainforest fires. The Amazon rainforest fires were one of the key global events in the recent past where different forest governance issues were largely discussed on social media. By analysing data from digital platforms including Twitter, Facebook, Google, Instagram and YouTube, it sought to understand public narratives and forms of engagement, participation and experience that emerge around this event at the peak of its international media coverage in the second half of August and the first half of September 2019.

This report portrays what types of actors, narratives, issues and practices have emerged around key Amazon rainforest fires hashtags on Twitter, and the different roles that images played in narratives, practices and engagement around the event across multiple social media platforms. The report also presents a range of digital methods and approaches that can be used to support learning about public perceptions and engagement with forest-related issues online. The results from the analysis have been already used as a tool for further discussion and debate with researchers, journalists, policymakers and other experts to facilitate dialogue about the social lives of forests and complement expert knowledge with everyday perspectives on forests in society.

The project has been implemented with the Public Data Lab and Density Design Lab. From the analysis, three distinct areas relevant to our main inquiry have been identified and summarised as Issue Stories on the dedicated website.

Download the publication here.

More information

Recommended citation:

Bounegru, L., Gray, J., Tsubaki, R., Colombo, G., and Tegegne, Y.T. (2022). Out of the Flames Mapping Online Engagement and Public Narratives Around the 2019 Amazon Rainforest Fires. European Forest Institute.