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Deforestation of the Rain Forest

Credits
USGS; Link: http://visibleearth.nasa.gov

The indigenous peoples of Latin America are facing serious problems caused by the large-scale deforestation of the rain forests. The false-colour image of Bolivia is representative of this issue. Losing their living environment, which was once used sustainably, indigenous peoples are increasingly marginalised and forced to live in poverty. Tropical rain forests are particularly sensitive to outside influences because they are drawing all of their potential from the natural cycles of materials because their ground is lacking nutrient stores.

Egmont National Park

Credits
NASA/GSFC; Link: http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov

The volcano Mount Taranaki in Egmont National Park on the west coast of New Zealand’s North Island is currently dormant. Mount Taranaki is located in an area with heavy precipitation and a mild maritime climate. In this image, the peak of the almost perfectly symmetrical stratovulcano is covered with snow. Due to the radial limitation of the nature reserve surrounding the volcanic crater, the land-cover pattern is striking. The extensive rain forest in the surroundings of the volcano contrasts with the neighbouring farmland.

 

Landslides in Brazil

Credits
NASA (Jesse Allen, Robert Simmon); Link: http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov

These images show the hills in the north of Teresópolis, Brazil, on May 24, 2010 and on February 2, 2011. In January 2011, a series of devastating landslides occurred, claiming the lives of 860 people. In the image on the right-hand side, the light brown stripes indicate the mudslides. This natural disaster was caused by the construction of favelas in steep terrain: In order to build the settlements, many trees were cut down whose roots had been ensuring the stability of the ground.

Centre-Pivot Irrigation in Kansas

Credits
USGS; Link: http://earthexplorer.usgs.gov/

Approximately 80 per cent of the global water consumption can be ascribed to irrigation farming. In this false-colour image from above Kansas, red stands for healthy vegetation while farmland sticks out due to its conventional and circular irrigation. The so-called centre-pivot irrigation is common in dry areas with a large land-use management. Its characteristic shape is clearly visible from space.

 

Location: Kansas, USA
Picture taken on September 26, 2010
Sensor: Terra ASTER
Band combination: Vis/NIR

The Great Wall of China

Credits
NASA/GSFC; Link: http://visibleearth.nasa.gov

This satellite image shows an area in the north of the Chinese province Shanxi. The blanket of snow reflects the low sun and highlights a part of the Great Wall of China which crosses the picture as a diagonal line. Also called the “Great Wall”, this famous landmark is more than 2000 years old and was built during a period of 1000 years. It is 7240 km long and stretches from Korea to the Gobi Desert. The Great Wall of China was erected in order to protect China against attacks from the north.

 

Carajás Iron Ore Mine, Brazil

Credits
NASA (Jesse Allen); Link: http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov

In this image, you can see one of the largest iron ore mines worldwide: the Carajás Mine. In the Carajás Mine, minerals are being removed from the surface layer by layer. In 2007, 296 million tons of iron ore were extracted. The Carajás Mine is estimated to hold approximately 18 billion tons of iron ore, gold, manganese, copper and nickel. In this image, the contrast between the red earth of the surface mining and the surrounding rain forest is striking. On the periphery of the image, you can see that rain forest has been cleared in favour of cultivated land.

 

Sand Dunes, Idaho

Credits
NASA (Jesse Allen, Robert Simmon); Link: http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov

Along highway 20 from Idaho Falls heading toward Yellowstone National Park, green and golden fields dominate the fertile plain of the Snake River. The circular areas indicate extensively irrigated farmland. The white dunes developed towards the end of the last ice age approximately 10 000 years ago when the global climate started to become warmer and drier. Lakes and rivers dried up leaving fine sand behind. Continuous winds from the south west blew the sand in northeasterly direction, passing lava fields which are quite dark in the picture.

 

Al-Basrah

Credits
USGS/EROS; Link: http://eros.usgs.gov/

North of the Iraqi city of Al-Basrah bordering on Iran, a former swamp has been drained. Today, this area is used for military training.

 

Location: Iraq, Al-Basrah
Picture taken on January 24, 2001
Sensor: Landsat ETM+
Band combination: IR/ G/ B

Irrigation Farming in Iran

Credits
NASA (Jesse Allen, Robert Simmon); Link: http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov

The city of Gandoman is located south of Isfahan in the arid area of mountainous Iran. At the foot of the mountain, there is a lot of irrigation farming alongside a river in the flat plains. Green areas are covered with vegetation, and shades of earthly brown indicate uncultivated land. The dark brown triangle in the middle of the picture signals wetland. The fan-shaped structure of the cultivated land spreading out at the bottom of the steep hills on fertile alluvial fans clearly sticks out

 

Precision Farming in Minnesota

Credits
NASA (Jesse Allen); USGS; Link: http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov

This false colour image shows farms alongside the Buffalo River in the US state Minnesota. Among other things, the term “precision farming” refers to the monitoring of plant health with the help of satellite images. Due to the depiction in the infrared spectrum, the farmers are provided with a lot of information about their fields.