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6 Striking Aerial Images Show How Deforestation Has Altered the Earth

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 Rondônia 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

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

Photo credit: NASA

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

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

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

Photo credit: NASA

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