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Fires and Deforestation in Brazil

Fires and Deforestation in Brazil

Tropical deforestation in the Amazon has many causes: government subsidies for conversion of forest land to agriculture such as cattle grazing; ultra-low taxes for income earned through agriculture; landlessness and poverty among squatters and small farmers, who can earn titles to land of their own by demonstrating cultivation of a plot of land; and legal and illegal logging. As the government struggles to find answers to these problems, deforestation continues in regions like Mato Grosso, Brazil, seen in this Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) image from June 2, 2002. Dark green areas are remaining, intact forests, while light green represent deforestation. Heavy smoke is drifting several hundred kilometers away from the fire to the south.

Please note that the high-resolution scene provided here is 500 meters per pixel. For a copy of the scene at the sensor's fullest resolution, visit the MODIS Rapid Response Image Gallery.

Image courtesy Jacques Descloitres, MODIS Land Rapid Response Team at NASA GSFC