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Letter from the editor | 297

The Pantanal’s turn

The Pantanal is one of the best-preserved biomes in Brazil. As of 2019, 84% of its native vegetation had been maintained. It’s landscape is shaped by heavy rainfall and river floods, which leave much of the land flooded for months, as well as droughts that result in sporadic fires. The fires that devastated 27% of the ecosystem between January and October this year, however, are unprecedented. The images of burning forests, many showing dead or injured wild animals fleeing the fire, made headlines around the world, just one year after the Amazon was devastated by fires well above the historical average. In pursuit of a comprehensive overview of the Pantanal’s ecosystem and the research being conducted there, editors Marcos Pivetta and Ricardo Zorzetto dove deep into the topic for this issue’s two cover articles (page 30).

Celso Furtado, from Pombal in the state of Paraíba, is Brazil’s most internationally renowned economist. Born 100 years ago, he proposed and participated in the formulation of some of the key ideas associated with industrialization and economic development in Brazil and Latin America. He wrote many important books that were translated into Spanish, French, English, Japanese, Mandarin, and Farsi, taught at prestigious universities in Europe and the US, and was a man of action, helping to create institutions such as ECLAC (the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean), SUDENE (the Superintendency for Development of Northeast Brazil), and cultural incentive laws after the country’s military dictatorship (1964–1985) came to an end (page 90).

In Brazil, the number of novel coronavirus cases and deaths are on a clear downward trend. Europe, meanwhile, is experiencing a significant second wave. Some of the differences in how countries have addressed the pandemic are described in an article on page 18. Other stories in this issue report on temporary interruptions to trials of COVID-19 vaccines and drugs (page 23), cases of reinfection by SARS-CoV-2 (page 26), and how likely it is that children transmit the disease (page 28).