Last updated on April 18, 2014 at 1:21 EDT
June 29 2007 - Fires across Mato Grosso Brazil
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June 29, 2007 - Fires across Mato Grosso, Brazil

February 18, 2008
People are steadily blazing a trail into the undeveloped Amazon. This pair of NASA satellite images reveal the "slash-and-burn" deforestation by which people clear farm and pasture land out of the jungle. The name describes the process of cutting down the trees and setting fire to what is left, using the fire to return soil-fertilizing nutrients back to the soil from the vegetation.

Mato Grosso, shown in this MODIS Terra image, acquired June 20, 2007, is one of the states of Brazil, located in the western part of the country. Neighboring states are (from west clockwise) Rondonia, Amazonas, Para, Tocantins, Goias and Mato Grosso do Sul. It also borders Bolivia to the southwest. The name literally means 'thick jungle'. Apart from the state capital, Cuiaba, there are few cities.