Before and after

Categories Atlántida, Flora and fauna

Mexico – January 1, 2009 (southern hemisphere summer): I read Syd’s post about a forest fire which started on the beach side, jumped the Ruta Interbalnearia (main coast road), and did extensive damage to wooded areas on the north side (fortunately not homes, which here are generally not combustible). Three months later we visited, met Syd and Gundy; three more months visited again to check it out in the worst weather; three months later moved. (By the way, Uruguay has been my longest stay in one place since I turned 16 and got my driver’s license!)

Informal loggers moved in, using the excuse of dead trees to remove more than a few perfectly healthy ones. I don’t include in-between imagery because it’s not that good, but clearly shows large areas of dead trees.

Over seven years later, when Benji and I joined Syd and dogs for walks, occasional charred stumps were the only indication that something devastating had occurred. Syd was – and still is – frequently pointing out grown-over paths that used to be a “road,” mostly for horse-drawn carts. And he has frequently told me of areas that used to be forest. I didn’t exactly not believe him, but I was amazed to consult Google/CIA Earth historical satellite imagery and see how vastly the area has changed. The wooded image is from 2006; the barren from 2014. The trees have thickened a bit since then. When stuff grows here, it tends to grow like crazy, but unfortunately the “loggers” of firewood here now do their best to prevent any trees from growing to maturity. We have no idea who the land belongs to.

Uruguay: Villa Argentina norte, before and after fire

It’s a lovely area to walk dogs – though not without issues: cows, bees (we were inexplicably attacked near hives we know about yesterday), horses which Mocha hasn’t yet learned to “live and let live,” motorbikes and quads, which happily Mocha ignores, unlike Benji, who went crazy chasing them.

But it’s also for the most part brush. Not particularly interesting. I look at how it was, and can only think it must have been almost magical, compared to now.

Don’t it always seem to go ….


4 thoughts on “Before and after

  1. Tree theft (ie firewood) here in Colonia is rampant, and growing exponentially. I have a friend who owns 250 hectares (618 acres) just outside the city. He has lost around 50% of the trees in the past five years or so. He has tried to patrol the area several times daily for thieves, but it has become obvious over the last year or two that they have lookout systems at houses along the many dirt roads accessing the terreno. He routinely encounters recently felled trees in various stages of cutting and splitting with no one in sight. It’s disgusting to see how much money he has lost over the past several years.

  2. Actually, there were two or three houses lost in the ´09 fire. They were located near where the projects are happening. Not sure how damaged they were. Never went to look.

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