deforestation in brazil

Amazon Deforestation, Mato Grosso, Brazil 

9August 2006

Along the southeastern margin of the Amazon Rainforest, people are creatingislands of rainforest surrounded by farms and ranches. In the Brazilian state of Mato Grosso, verdant green Amazon Rainforest is broken up by broad tracts of pale green and tan deforested land. In 2005, the government of Brazil said that 48 percent of Amazon deforestation that took place in 2003 and 2004 occurred in Mato Grosso. Fire is a common land-clearing or land-management tool in the region and a fewfires can be identified in the satellite images.

28 June 2006
17 June 2002
Deforested Areas

The transformation from forest to farm is evident in the photo-likeimages, taken by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite. The left image was taken on28 June 2006, while the left image is from 17 June 2002. The bottom map shows the difference in deforested areas over the timeperiod, with some of the largest cleared areas marked in red. On this map, areas that were non-forested(either naturally or already deforested) in 2002 are light gray, while areas that remained forested in 2006 are darkergray.

Although some deforestation is part of the country’s plans to develop its agriculture and timberindustries, other deforestation is the result of illegal logging and squatters.In northern Mato Grosso land cover change from dense rainforest to roads andagricultural land is often achieved through fire. People also use fire tomaintain agricultural and pasture land. The Brazilian government uses MODIS images such as these to detect illegaldeforestation. Because the forest is so large and is difficult to access orpatrol, the satellite images can provide an initial alert that tells officials where to look for illegallogging.

(source: EarthObservatory)


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