Deforestation of Rondonia, Brazil from 1975 to 2009

In the 1970s, Brazil's Program of National Integration built roads across the Amazon and settled land along these roads with colonists. These roads were catalysts of land use change in the Amazon.

Brazil is also home to more than a quarter of Earth's tropical forests. Considering that the band of lush green that circles the globe through many equatorial nations is fundamental to the overall health of the whole planet's environment, careful monitoring of forest health in the tropics is essential. Tropical forests act as major carbon 'sinks', places where ambient carbon dioxide in the atmosphere can be absorbed by growing things and sequestered for years. Definitive evidence shows that excess carbon dioxide can contribute to the greenhouse effect and speed global warming. Similarly, tropical forests also act as a primary producer of oxygen. In the respiration process that absorbs gaseous carbon dioxide, trees and other plants give off oxygen.

Data taken in 1975 and 2009 from the Landsat series of spacecraft shows enormous tracts of forest disappearing in Rondonia, Brazil.

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Visualization Credits

Lori Perkins (NASA/GSFC): Lead Animator
Michelle Williams (UMBC): Producer
Darrel Williams (NASA/GSFC): Scientist
Chris Justice (University of Maryland): Scientist
Inbal Becker Reshef (University of Maryland): Scientist
Please give credit for this item to:
NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center Scientific Visualization Studio

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Data Used:

This item is part of these series:
Geophysical Changes Over Time
Agriculture Animations - Land Use Change
Agriculture Animations - Climate Change

Goddard TV Tape:
G2008-041HD -- NASAs Landsat in HD 2008 Resource Tape

DLESE >> Agricultural science
DLESE >> Environmental science
DLESE >> Forestry
SVS >> Rondonia
SVS >> Urbanization
GCMD >> Earth Science >> Human Dimensions >> Habitat Conversion/Fragmentation >> Deforestation
GCMD >> Location >> Brazil
SVS >> Copenhagen
SVS >> For Educators
SVS >> Rainforest
SVS >> Tropical Forests
SVS >> Human Consumption
SVS >> Lumber Industry
SVS >> Paper Industry
NASA Science >> Earth

GCMD keywords can be found on the Internet with the following citation: Olsen, L.M., G. Major, K. Shein, J. Scialdone, S. Ritz, T. Stevens, M. Morahan, A. Aleman, R. Vogel, S. Leicester, H. Weir, M. Meaux, S. Grebas, C.Solomon, M. Holland, T. Northcutt, R. A. Restrepo, R. Bilodeau, 2013. NASA/Global Change Master Directory (GCMD) Earth Science Keywords. Version