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Archive for Deforestation

Soil Erosion in Madagascar

15.8S 46.2E

January 4th, 2013 Category: Deforestation, Rivers, Sediments

Madagascar – December 30th, 2012

The red color of the Betsiboka River and Bombetoka Bay into which it flows (top edge) demonstrate one of Madagascar’s greatest environmental problems — soil erosion. Deforestation of Madagascar’s central highlands has resulted in widespread soil erosion, which in some areas may top 400 tons/ha per year.

For Madagascar, a country that relies on agricultural production for the foundation of its economy, the loss of this soil is especially costly.  The removal of the native forest for cultivation and pastureland during the past 50 years has led to massive annual soil losses approaching 112 tons per acre (250 metric tons per hectare) in some regions of the island, the largest amount recorded anywhere in the world.

Land Cover Changes Around Términos Lagoon, Mexico

18.6N 91.5W

December 28th, 2012 Category: Deforestation, Sediments

Mexico – December 25th, 2012

Green sediments, likely mixed with phytoplankton growth, spill out of the Términos Lagoon and line the western coast of the Yucatán Peninsula. The Términos Lagoon ecosystem is the largest fluvial-lagoon estuarine system in the country and one of the most important reserves of coastal flora and fauna in Mexico.

Satellite image analysis has shown that land cover changes in the area since the mid 1970s include extensive losses of tropical forest and mangroves, while urban areas and induced grassland increased considerably.

According to scientists, in 2001 more than half of the ecosystem area showed changes from its original land cover, and a third part of it was deteriorated. The main causes of deforestation were both the increase in grassland and the growth of urban areas. However, deforestation was attenuated by natural reforestation and plant canopy recovery.

Rivers Running Through the Amazon Rainforest, Brazil

3.1S 60W

September 29th, 2012 Category: Deforestation, Fires, Rivers

Brazil – September 1st, 2012

Rivers winding their way through Brazil’s Amazon Rainforest appear as tan lines due to the sediments they carry. Visible in the upper part of the image is the Amazon River, the world’s largest river by waterflow. The city of Manaus can be seen near the confluence of the Negro and Solimões (Amazon) Rivers.

Visible cutting diagonally across the lower part of the image is the Madeira River, the Amazon’s biggest tributary, with a length of about 3,250 km (2,020 mi). Some haze can be seen in the lower right quadrant, mostly south of the river. This is caused by smoke from fires, one of which is visible in the full image. As the fire is located near an area of deforestation, it may have been set in order to clear land for grazing, planting crops or human habitation.

Deforestation in Brazilian States of Acre and Rondônia, Near Bolivian Border

9.9S 67.8W

July 16th, 2012 Category: Deforestation

Bolivia and Brazil – July 13th, 2012

Upon opening the full image, the herringbone patterns of deforestation can be observed in the light green areas branching out amidst the dark green of the Amazon Rainforest in Brazil, near the border with Bolivia. Large areas of deforested land, often cleared to make room for cities and towns, can be seen in the state of Acre, particularly near the state capital of Rio Branco (top center), and the state of Rondônia (upper right).

Deforestation in Rondônia, Brazil – July 10th, 2012

10.8S 62.9W

July 10th, 2012 Category: Deforestation, Image of the day

Brazil – July 5th, 2012

This image focuses on Rondônia, a state in Brazil, located in the north-western part of the country. To the west is a short border with the state of Acre, to the north is the state of Amazonas, in the east is Mato Grosso, and in the south is Bolivia.

The state is covered mostly with Amazon Rainforest, but about three-fifths of the state has been deforested since intensive settlement and logging began in the 1970s, speeding up deforestation even into current times. A majority of its citizens now live in urban areas. Here, the deforested areas appear light green, and often show a herringbone pattern, in contrast with the dark green of the lush Amazon Rainforest.