Image of the Day: Tall Trees Tell Telling Tale

The coastal Pacific Northwest of the U.S. has the tallest trees in North America, averaging as much as 131 feet in height. It has the densest biomass — the total mass of organisms living within a given area — in the country. But for centuries, it also has been a much-tapped resource for lumber; land-clearing for agriculture and development have also trimmed the woodlands. Both the lumber companies and forest managers have an interest in measuring the health of these forests. The image shows Washington state and a sliver of Oregon in fine scale (the image is roughly 12.5 miles wide), which allows researchers to see the regular patterns of logging and development, and the more erratic shape of areas lost to fires and pests.

Credit: NASA