The Landsat Archive is the world’s longest continuously-collected record of the Earth’s surface.
In mid-September, it notched another milestone by adding its nine millionth scene.
This particular image from north-central Paraguay helps tell the kind of story that only a long historical record like Landsat can.
The rectangular tracks of brown and tan that dapple the landscape between the states of Boquerón and Upper Paraguay signal deforestation. Land is cleared through controlled burns to make way for crops like soybeans, or to make room for livestock. The nine millionth scene even shows an active fire.
One Landsat-based study found that some 44,000 square kilometers of forest were lost between 1987 and 2012. This animation shows the dramatic decline in forested land.
The Landsat Archive continues to grow. This animation shows the growth in Landsat scene coverage since the launch of the first orbiter in 1972. The launch of Landsat 9 in 2021 will maintain the continuity of this one-of-a-kind scientific resource.