STS079-785-102 Rondonia State, Brazil September 1996
The deforested frontier, located in Rondonia State of west central Brazil, presents a distinctive pattern of clearcut swaths expanding into the Amazon rainforest. The land use pattern that is created by the progressive expansion of agricultural and mining activities is rather unique to Rondonia State. The systematic cutting of the rainforest vegetation usually starts along highways or streams and then side roads are cut through the wilderness at regular interval, thereby creating a very regimented looking landscape of alternating strips of rainforest (dark) and clear cut (lighter) areas. The town of Ariquemes (estimated population of 40000 to 70000 inhabitants) is visible near the center of the picture (small, light colored feature). A short section of highway BR364 is visible as the light-colored, linear feature that extends from north to the southeast through Ariquemes. Another road can also be traced across the landscape, as it heads southwest from Ariquemes. The deforested areas (lighter swaths) reflect the extent to which the land is used for agriculture (ranching and farming) and forestry industries. The cattle industry is a major economic activity in Rondonia at this time.

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