Earth Snapshot RSS Feed Twitter

Posts tagged Deforestation

Deforestation in Rondônia, Brazil – April 23rd, 2013

11.5S 63.5W

April 23rd, 2013 Category: Deforestation, Image of the day

Brazil – April 22nd, 2013

The state of Rondônia in western Brazil, once home to 208,000 square kilometers of forest (about 51.4 million acres), has become one of the most deforested parts of the Amazon. In the past three decades, clearing and degradation of the state’s forests have been rapid: 4,200 square kilometers cleared by 1978; 30,000 by 1988; and 53,300 by 1998. By 2003, an estimated 67,764 square kilometers of rainforest had been cleared.

In this image, intact forest is deep green, while cleared areas are tan (bare ground) or light green (crops, pasture, or occasionally, second-growth forest). Deforestation follows a fairly predictable pattern: the first clearings that appear in the forest are in a fishbone pattern, arrayed along the edges of roads. Over time, the fishbones collapse into a mixture of forest remnants, cleared areas, and settlements.

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.

Fires and Deforestation in Pará, Brazil

August 22nd, 2012 Category: Fires

Brazil – August 20th, 2012

Smoke from fires in Brazil hovers over the Amazon Rainforest in the upper part of this image. The largest fire, near the image center, is located in the state of Pará. Most of the tan lines in herringbone patterns across the green landscape are signs of deforestation.