Sunday, June 8, 2008

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Paektu San

Democratic People's Republic of Korea, China
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Situated on the border between China and North Korea, the mountain Paektu San is a symbol of patriotism for the Korean people and an embodiment of their national spirit. The mountain's rich volcanic soils and its dry, relatively cool climate make it suitable for agriculture.

These two satellite images reveal the degree to which agricultural activities have expanded on and around Paektu San, particularly on the North Korean side of the border, where intensive land development has served to both increase food production and underscore North Korea's territorial claims. In these images, green represents natural vegetation while grayish-brown areas are bare agricultural lands in which crops have not yet emerged from the soil. Areas of deforestation and other types of land clearing appear pink and are dissected by the fine lines of mountain streams. Near the center of the more recent image, there is further evidence of land-cover change along the border between the two countries where a dam has been constructed.
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