This picture of the central part of the Inter-Andean valley around the city of Cuenca (Ecuador) shows the intense degradation of the environment. This area has favourable climatic and topographic conditions for the development of agriculture, and was historically densely populated and intensively cultivated. Rapid socio-economic and demographic growth resulted in a very dynamic land use system, which is now dominated by agricultural and residential land use. Natural forest was increasingly converted to arable land or rangeland to augment agricultural production. In a later stage, agricultural lands affected by intense soil erosion and gully development were abandoned. As a response to the growing demand for firewood and timber, reforestation with quick growing exotic species has taken place on highly degraded land since the early 1970s.
Image 14959 is a 1200 by 1600 pixel JPEG
Uploaded: Apr28 09