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.
Around the world, agricultural practices have developed as a function of topography, soil type, crop type, annual rainfall, and tradition. This montage of six images from shows differences in field geometry and size in different parts of the world.