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Valle Chacabuco, Patagonia, Argentina 47.05.219S71.49.666W by Stuart Pimm

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About This Gigapan

Taken by
Stuart Pimm Stuart Pimm
Explore score
0.33 Gigapixels
Date added
May 02, 2011
Date taken
Feb 28, 2011

This image is part of a set designed to document ecosystem changes in the grasslands and forests that Conservacion Patagonica has acquired to connect areas of uplands and create the future Patagonia National Park. See: www.conservacionpatagonica.org Will open in a new tab or window.
For the past eighty years, the Chacabuco Valley in Chile’s Aysen Region was a large sheep ranch, where overgrazing had severely damaged the grasslands. With the launch of the Patagonia National Park project, Conservacion Patagonica removed the sheep from the land; wildlife — most obviously guanacos — began to return to the area. Kris Tompkins, founder and president of Conservacion Patagonica, asked me to be one of the project’s scientific advisors. My immediate preoccupation was to document the ecological changes that would likely take place in the area as ranch became national park, as guanacos replaced sheep, as setting fires to clear forest stopped. Moreover, global climate disruption is projected to make quite marked changes on this area: temperature and probably rainfall will shift, and glaciers will melt. I looked for a technical strategy for documenting these changes to develop a deeper understanding of land use changes throughout Patagonia, where overgrazing affects huge expanses of grasslands.

When I began this project in early 2011, the coverage of high-resolution satellite images was quite poor. This will surely improve, allowing for time series of birds-eye images to record the changes. But the need to have additional detailed and eye-level images is obvious. In the years and decades to come, these gigapans will form a baseline to allow the Park’s managers and visitors to understand the changes taking place.

I was inspired by J.R. Hastings and R. M. Turner’s “The Changing Mile.” Over a century of photographs creates a visual account of land use changes that provides a rich source of understanding of ecological change and its drivers. I hope these photographs will do the same, in time.

An account of this restoration — and an interview with Kris Tompkins — is at newswatch.nationalgeographic.com/2010/01/23/patagonia_grasslands_park Will open in a new tab or window/
This lake had large numbers of waterbirds on it, including upland geese, chiloe wigeon, and red-gartered coot

This area is still intensively grazed by sheep and lies outside the area that will become the Park.

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Stitcher Notes


GigaPan Stitch version 1.1.1240 (Macintosh)
Panorama size: 333 megapixels (41792 x 7988 pixels)
Input images: 75 (15 columns by 5 rows)
Field of view: 141.3 degrees wide by 27.0 degrees high (top=11.0, bottom=-16.0)
Vignette correction on: c1=-0.0228 c2=0.0023
All default settings
Original image properties:
Camera make: Canon
Camera model: Canon EOS 40D
Image size: 3888x2592 (10.1 megapixels)
Capture time: 2011-02-28 12:21:02 - 2011-02-28 12:26:34
Aperture: f/22
Exposure time: 0.01
ISO: 400
Focal length (35mm equiv.): 152.2 mm
White balance: Automatic
Exposure mode: Manual
Horizontal overlap: 29.0 to 32.9 percent
Vertical overlap: 47.2 to 49.9 percent
Computer stats: 2048 MB RAM, 2 CPUs
Total time 8:15 (6.6 seconds per picture)
Alignment: 2:23, Projection: 1:10, Blending: 4:42
(Preview finished in 4:14)

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