Striking Aerial Images Show How Deforestation Has Changed the Planet

Written by Stefanie Spear and reposted with permission from EcoWatch.

There’s no debating that humans have greatly scarred the Earth. And, there’s no better way to see the extent of that damage than via aerial images. Below are six NASA satellite images that show massive deforestation in many parts of the world.

According to NASA, the state of Rondônia in western Brazil—once home to 208,000 square kilometers of forest (about 51.4 million acres), an area slightly smaller than the state of Kansas—has become one of the most deforested parts of the Amazon. In the past three decades, clearing and degradation of the state’s forests have been rapid: 4,200 square kilometers cleared by 1978; 30,000 by 1988; and 53,300 by 1998. By 2003, an estimated 67,764 square kilometers of rainforest—an area larger than the state of West Virginia—had been cleared.

The state of  in western Brazil. Left from 1975 and right from 2012. Photo credit: NASA

The state of Rondonia in western Brazil. Left from 1975 and right from 2012. Photo credit: NASA

You can also watch this animation of images from 1975 until 2012, acquired by NASA’s Landsat 5 and 7 satellites, showing enormous tracts of Amazonian forest disappearing in Rondônia, Brazil.

This NASA satellite image from Aug. 28, 2013 shows deforestation that has occurred in Peru near Tamshiyacu.

Photo credit: NASA

Photo credit: NASA

This NASA satellite image from 1988 shows widespread deforestation in Mexico compared to its neighbor Guatemala.

Photo credit: NASA

Photo credit: NASA

This NASA satellite image shows Haiti (left) and the Dominican Republic (right).

Photo credit: NASA

Photo credit: NASA

This image, taken in April 2001 from the International Space Station, shows scars from deforestation in Bolivia where the stripped land is used for agriculture. Each of the pinwheel stripped areas are centered around a small community.

Photo credit: NASA

Photo credit: NASA

These satellite images show before and after deforestation due to gold mining in the Peruvian Amazon.

Photo credit: NASA

Photo credit: NASA

Photo credit: Youtube screenshot

95 comments

Melania Padilla
Melania Padilla1 years ago

The killing of ourselves!

SEND
Siyus Copetallus
Siyus Copetallus3 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

SEND
Teresa W.
Teresa W3 years ago

shocking

SEND
Michael Frederick

Disheartening and yet we are not stopping. I'm always wondering why resources cannot be used to make deserts fertile and productive. Too much of the world monies are being spent on destroying ourselves all because of power and greed

SEND
Rosemary H.
Rosemary H3 years ago

When I first went to Nepal, below the snowline it was a green country. About 15 years later when I last went, it had turned brown.

SEND
Nancy Hatcher
Nancy Hatcher3 years ago

I'd like to see one of the U.S. We're done our fair share of damage to the environment.

SEND
JD She
JD She3 years ago

Noted

SEND
heather g.
heather g3 years ago

These images are a reminder of areas of great concern because they have the comparison factor.
Where I live in the Vancouver, BC area one sees huge trucks overloaded with large tree trunks trundling past a few times a day. It would be interesting to see aerial comparisons even although they have learnt to do all the clearing away from the main roads - on the far sides of the mountains. This is very noticeable when flying over the area.

SEND
Nikki Davey
Nikki Davey3 years ago

We need to help these countries grow without the need for deforestation

SEND
Nikki Davey
Nikki Davey3 years ago

We need to help these countries grow without the need for deforestation

SEND