DEIMOS-1 Image of the Week (acquired 17/9/2015): Mato Groso
In the Mato Grosso region of Brazil, fires are a major cause of deforestation. “Slash and burn” agriculture technique is used to clear tropical forests for farming and ranching. This false color image captured a fire burning in the North East part of Mato Groso. Burning releases nutrients locked up in vegetation and produces a layer of nutrient-rich material above the otherwise poor soil. The cleared area is quickly planted and supports vigorous growth for a few years, after which the nutrient stock is depleted and large amounts of fertilizer are required to keep the operation viable. Fertilizer may be washed into local streams, affecting fish and aquatic life.