This image from Landsat7, acquired on August 1, 2000, shows the new agricultural settlements east of Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia in an area of tropical dry forest. Since the mid-1980s, this region has been rapidly deforested as a result of the resettlement of people from the Altiplano (the Andean high plains) and a large agricultural development effort, called the Tierras Baja project. The pie or radial patterned fields (left) are part of the San Javier resettlement scheme. At the center of each unit is a small community including a church, bar/cafe, school, and soccer field-the essentials of life in rural Bolivia. The rectilinear, light-colored areas (right) are fields of soybeans cultivated for export that are mostly funded by foreign loans. The dark strips running through these fields are wind breaks. These are advantageous because the soils in this area are fine and prone to wind erosion.
Large version of pie-shaped fields (420 kb)
Large version of linear fields (360 kb)
Landsat image courtesy USGS EROS Data Center and Landsat7 science team. Photographs courtesy Compton Tucker, NASA GSFC.