Amazon Deforestation in Rondonia, Brazil, 2000-2010

  • Released Monday, November 14th, 2011
  • Updated Wednesday, May 3rd, 2023 at 1:53PM

The state of Rondonia in western Brazil is observed by satellite. This timelapse of MODIS images shows the reduction of the forest from 2000-2010.

Deforestation follows a fairly predictable pattern in these images. 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. This pattern follows one of the most common deforestation trajectories in the Amazon. Legal and illegal roads penetrate a remote part of the forest, and small farmers migrate to the area. They claim land along the road and clear some of it for crops. Within a few years, heavy rains and erosion deplete the soil, and crop yields fall. Farmers then convert the degraded land to cattle pasture, and clear more forest for crops. Eventually the small land holders, having cleared much of their land, sell it or abandon it to large cattle holders, who consolidate the plots into large areas of pasture.

Areas of forest cover loss (in red) during the period 2000-2005.  Background image is the percent of forest cover in the year 2000, from MODIS data.

Areas of forest cover loss (in red) during the period 2000-2005. Background image is the percent of forest cover in the year 2000, from MODIS data.

Areas of forest cover loss (in red) during the period 2005-2010.  Background image is the percent of forest cover in the year 2000, from MODIS data.

Areas of forest cover loss (in red) during the period 2005-2010. Background image is the percent of forest cover in the year 2000, from MODIS data.



Credits

Please give credit for this item to:
NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center and Earth Observatory. Images from NASA's Earth Observatory "World of Change" Amazon Deforestation feature.