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Credit & Copyright: Dr. Bruce G.
Explanation: What an odd pattern for a forest settlement. We are flying over the upper Amazon River Basin north of the city of Santa Cruz, Bolivia, toward the border with Brazil. Below us is a landscape heavily altered by human presence -- with tropical dry forests cleared for pasture, agriculture, roads, and settlements.
Some settlements in this area have been structured radially like spokes of a giant wheel, with the farm and town buildings at the center and various farm and pasture fields spreading out. Here is one such settlement called "Little Okinawa," settled by immigrants from the Japanese island of Okinawa. Other such settlements are by more local immigrants from the Altiplano (the high plains of the Andes).
The radial pattern serves as a way to access broad swaths of converted tropical forestland from a central point, and is found in some of the flat forest areas of Bolivia and Brazil.
The animated image below illustrates how quickly forestland can be lost over just a 6-year period.
Next week's picture: Van Dyke's Salamander: Rarest North American Vertebrate?
Author & Webmaster: Dr.
Bruce G. Marcot, Tom Bruce
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