Cerrado Region Brazil
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Cerrado Region, Brazil

April 4, 2005

Early in the Brazilian wet season, the Terra MODIS instrument acquired a true-color image of what would be one of the few days where the clouds broke up enough to reveal the Cerrado. The Cerrado is a region of extensive woodlands and savannas originally covering over 2,031,990 square kilometers on the Brazilian Plateau, and is the second largest ecosystem in Brazil, after the Amazon. However, today less than a quarter of the Cerrado remains, at 438,910 sq km, of which only 111,051 sq km are protected at all. Despite there being only 13 people per square mile, deforestation for agriculture and ranching has pushed 10 bird species, 4 mammal species, 2 amphibian species, and over 4,400 plant species to endemically threatened status. Among these species are the giant anteater, wolly giant rat, jaguar, and maned wolf.

Alternately extremely wet and extremely dry, the vegetation here is adapted to both conditions, including the fires that MODIS detected, which are marked in red. Judging by how small and prevalent the fires are, they are probably agricultural in nature.

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