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Image that says Amazon Rainforest: View from Space.
Button that takes you to the Activity 1: Seeing Environmental Change page.
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Button that takes you to the Image Processing Procedures page.
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Amazon Rainforest: View from Space
Image showing the region surrounding the city of Rio Branco in the western Amazon basin.  This image links to a more detailed image.Some types of changes in the Amazonian rain forest are easy to see, even from space. To help you with your analysis, the GRIN panel has made available to your group a set of images showing the region surrounding the city of Rio Branco in the western Amazon basin. Rio Branco is the capital of the Brazilian state of Acre (see map).

As with many locales in the rainforest, the area around Rio Branco has seen many changes in the last few years: an exploding population (see table below), competition for resources, and even outbursts of violence like the old American West. Rio Branco boasts many different types of people: wealthy ranchers, dirt-poor farmers, an assortment of city merchants and workers, miners, loggers, corporate businessmen, environmentalists, migratory rubber tappers (centered around the town of Xapuri), and tribes of native Indians. Some of these people view the rainforest as an enemy to be destroyed, some see it as free goods to be disposed of in any way possible that makes lots of money, and some see it as home.

Population Growth in Western Amazonia

 Political Unit

1960

1970

1980

1990

1991

State of Acre 160,000 218,000 301,605 437,419

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City of Rio Branco

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34,531 87,462

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313,000*

*Population numbers are estimated

Analysis of satellite imagery allows the overall impact of people on the rain forest to be clearly seen; it allows measurement and evaluation to help decide what is happening, how fast it is happening, and where it is happening. Activity 1: seeing environmental change and activity 2: measuring environmental change of the Remote Sensing Activities present two groups of suggested image processing activities, Image Processing Procedures provides detailed directions for most of the processing procedures, and the Landsat Image Set contains the list of satellite images. This set of images and the suggested image processing activities will give your group some of the information it needs to analyze the situation and to make informed and responsible recommendations.

Note: Working on the image processing activities requires leaving your World Wide Web browser (Netscape, Mosaic, etc.) and opening a separate image processing program to work on the images. Therefore, for practical reasons, we recommend that you do the following while you are still in your Web browser:

Read through the activities and look at the sample images to get an idea of what the activities are all about.

Print out the directions given in activities 1 and 2, and image processing procedures for the activities you want to try.

Download the images you have chosen to work on from the list in the Landsat Image Set to an appropriate folder on your hard drive. (The sample images included with activities 1 and 2 are in "GIF" format for viewing on your Web browser. The images in the landsat image set are in "tif" for downloading and use with image processing programs.)

Finally, exit your Web browser, open your image processing program, and import the images you wish to work on, following the directions you printed out.

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Measuring Environmental Change ] [ Image Processing Procedures ]
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Landsat Image Set ] [ Brazilian Landsat Link ]
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Page created by Chris Kreger
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Last updated November 10, 2004

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