Sunday, June 8, 2008

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Tensas River

United States of America
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The Tensas River Basin watershed lies in eastern Louisiana and covers 272 000 hectares (672 126 acres) in the Mississippi River Alluvial Plain. Historically, 90 per cent of this land was forested. Roughly 85 per cent of the forests were cleared during the 1960s and 1970s for the planting of soybeans. Clearing of the forest has exacerbated flooding problems and increased erosion.

As this pair of images reveals, intensive agricultural development has continued in the Tensas River Basin over time. Croplands appear in shades of tan; forests are green. The only remaining large tracts of hardwood forests in the watershed are in isolated wildlife refuges and management areas. Small forest remnants also occur on some private lands. The contrast between the amount of land cover change that has occurred on opposite sides of the Mississippi River in these images is striking. In the state of Mississippi, the forests remain largely intact, possibly due to the absence of lands suitable for cultivation.
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