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Forest dynamics and the importance of place in western Honduras

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Abstract

Analyses of landscape change using remotely sensed satellite imagery constitute a large component of forest transition research, allowing for assessments of large areas. In the western highlands of Honduras is an area of complex forest dynamics (∼45,000 ha) that has seen significant forest regeneration in recent years. However, analysis of the larger region (∼500,000 ha) shows net forest loss. The comparative aspects highlight the importance of site selection and scale in forest transition analysis, a process often ignored in the land-use and land-cover change (LULCC) and forest transition literature. Results also highlight the importance of analyzing human-induced fragmentation at a variety of selected sites and a range of spatial scales, and producing quality, accurate forest cover and change maps.

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... Recent studies suggest that FT is associated with variables related to socioeconomic development, such as rural abandonment and accompanying urbanization, agricultural intensification, the establishment of extensive tree plantations (often through statedriven policies), economic industrialization, growing education and technical knowledge, and the strengthening of sociopolitical institutions (8)(9)(10)(11)(12)(13)(14)(15)(16)(17)(18)(19)(20). However, these studies, including the seminal descriptions of FT in Europe (21)(22)(23)(24)(25) and Southeast Asia (10,26), are mostly derived from case studies of a single country, usually because data are only available at the national level, which limits the potential for broad-scale extrapolation or generalization of findings and has strong potential for biases because of arbitrary or opportunistic site selection (27). Largely overlooked is the fact that countries include significant environmental heterogeneity within their borders, with multiple biomes and forest types that differ in size, location, distribution, and ecological characteristics. ...
... The most recent review of forest trends in Central America (28) concluded that, although there is room for "cautious optimism" in the sense that the region could follow a FT pathway; the patterns are unclear and limited by the lack of up-to-date forest monitoring. Studies of land change in Central America and other regions in Latin America have identified many socioeconomic factors favoring forest recovery, including: international remittances (29)(30)(31), migration (32)(33)(34)(35), urban/rural population change (36)(37)(38)(39), rural abandonment and accompanying urbanization and industrialization (18,35,40), foreign investment (41), tourism (4), establishment of protected areas (42,43), expansion of shade coffee oriented to global markets (27), establishment of tree plantations (17), and growth of the services economy (44,45). These studies, however, are mostly restricted to one country or a subnational area, and do not discriminate among forest types or ecological subnational regions. ...
... Cultivation of traditional shadegrown coffee, the main cash crop in western Honduras, leaves parts of the original forest canopy or shade trees planted. A substantial portion of the "regrowth," which occurred in south-central Honduras during the 1990s, can be attributed to the planting of trees for shade-grown coffee cultivation (27,70), and this process has likely continued into the last decade. ...
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Forest transitions (FT) have been observed in many developed countries and more recently in the developing world. However, our knowledge of FT from tropical regions is mostly derived from case studies from within a particular country, making it difficult to generalize findings across larger regions. Here we overcome these difficulties by conducting a recent (2001-2010) satellite-based analysis of trends in forest cover across Central America, stratified by biomes, which we related to socioeconomic variables associated with human development. Results show a net decrease of woody vegetation resulting from 12,201 km(2) of deforestation of moist forests and 6,825 km(2) of regrowth of conifer and dry forests. The Human Development Index was the socioeconomic variable best associated with forest cover change. The least-developed countries, Nicaragua and Guatemala, experienced both rapid deforestation of moist forests and significant recovery of conifer and dry forests. In contrast, the most developed countries, Panama and Costa Rica, had net woody vegetation gain and a more stable forest cover configuration. These results imply a good agreement with FT predictions of forest change in relation to socioeconomic development, but strong asymmetry in rates and directions of change largely dependent upon the biome where change is occurring. The FT model should be refined by incorporating ecological and socioeconomic heterogeneity, particularly in multicountry and regional studies. These asymmetric patterns of forest change should be evaluated when developing strategies for conserving biodiversity and environmental services.
... The East Mountain Range and the Magdalena Valley are the most affected montane forest areas, where deforestation is associated with agricultural expansion. These processes have negative implications for conservation because these ecosystems are considered hotspots of biodiversity (Myers 1998 In addition to this deforestation process, there is also a net gain of secondary vegetation, which is consistent with the trends found in other tropical mountain areas (Gómez, Vega, Ramírez, Palacio, and Galicia 2006;Flamenco-Sandoval, Martínez-Ramos, and Masera 2007;Redo, Joby Bass and Millington 2009). Secondary vegetation has become an important element of the Andean landscape in recent years, and its increase has been generally associated with areas of forest recovery after continuous selective logging. ...
... Cramer, Hobbs, and Standish (2008) state that the causes of abandoned lands are a complex mixture between social, economical, and ecological factors and that the increase of rural-urban migration is currently a worldwide tendency. In the Colombian Andes, many recovered areas are not influenced by incentives for conservation or the adoption of friendly agriculture techniques for the benefit of biodiversity or market trends, as has occurred in some Central American countries (Lugo 2002;Redo et al. 2009). Instead these areas respond to socioeconomic events that have occurred in Colombia over the past 20 years. ...
Article
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Land use and land cover changes (LUCC) are recognized as one of the most relevant drivers of biodiversity loss in ecosystems. Through the analysis of satellite images, this article quantifies the LUCC that occurred between 1985 and 2008 in the Colombian Andes. Four submodels of changes were analyzed: deforestation, crop intensification, conversion to pastures, and abandonment. We associated these changes with demographic, socioeconomic, and abiotic variables and to some attractors of landscape change, and finally we have considered three scenarios of change: reference, increase in pasture, and crop intensification. The dynamics of LUCC were dominated by systematic transitions between crops, pastures, and secondary vegetation. Of all the submodels, pasture conversion has an important contribution in terms of accuracy rate (84%), and the most relevant variables for explaining land cover changes in the region were elevation, soil type, and distance to roads, cities, and pastures. Our simulations suggest that the pasture conversion scenario would have the biggest impact in natural ecosystems and could cause the loss of 28–30% of the cover area by 2050. The results indicate some that these hotspots of change are currently still under a good conservation state with large extension of forests.
... The removal of subsidies to agriculture (a central element in neoliberal policies) differently affects large-and small-scale farmers in the region. The former tend to abandon farming (with consequent reforestation), whereas the latter diversify their economic portfolio with nonfarm income-earning activities, international migration, and remittances and temporary migration to urban areas (Klooster 2003;Hecht et al. 2006;Kull, Ibrahim, and Meredith 2007;Sloan 2008;Redo, Bass, and Millington 2009). This diversifi cation prevents the abandonment of rural areas in the region, and either reforestation or limited change in forest area can be observed. ...
... Incentives that do not exclude small farmers from participating might result in reforestation in small-scale properties (Kull et al. 2007). The expansion of agroforestry systems (mainly coffee) is also associated with increase in forest cover, when these systems are counted as forests (Hecht et al. 2006;Redo et al. 2009). Reforestation resulting from the abandonment of small-scale agriculture, particularly coffee, has been reported in Puerto Rico. ...
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Declining profitability of agriculture and/or higher prices of forest products and services typically drive an increase in forest cover. This article examines changes in forest cover in Candelaria Loxicha, Mexico. Forest cover increased in the area as a result of coffee cultivation in coffee forest-garden systems. Dependence on forest products and services, and not prices of forest products, drive the process in our study site. Low international coffee prices and high labor demand outside the community might pull farmers out of agriculture, but they do not completely abandon the lands. A diversification in income sources prevents land abandonment and contributes to maintaining rural populations and coffee forest gardens. Un incremento en la cobertura forestal es típicamente consecuencia de la disminución en la rentabilidad de la agricultura o del incremento en el precio de los productos y servicios forestales. Este artículo examina cambios en la cobertura forestal en Candelaria Loxicha, México. La cobertura forestal aumentó en el área como resultado del cultivo del café en sistemas de bosque-café. La dependencia de los productos y servicios forestales, y no el precio de los productos forestales, fue determinante en el proceso que se ha llevado a cabo en nuestro sitio de estudio. Los bajos precios en el mercado internacional del café y la alta demanda de mano de obra fuera de la comunidad podrían alejar a los campesinos de la agricultura, pero el trabajo agrícola no ha sido completamente abandonado. La diversificación en las fuentes de ingreso previene el abandono de las tierras y contribuye al mantenimiento de la población rural y de los sistemas de bosque-café.
... The East Mountain Range and the Magdalena Valley are the most affected montane forest areas, where deforestation is associated with agricultural expansion. These processes have negative implications for conservation because these ecosystems are considered hotspots of biodiversity (Myers 1998 In addition to this deforestation process, there is also a net gain of secondary vegetation, which is consistent with the trends found in other tropical mountain areas (Gómez, Vega, Ramírez, Palacio, and Galicia 2006;Flamenco-Sandoval, Martínez-Ramos, and Masera 2007;Redo, Joby Bass and Millington 2009). Secondary vegetation has become an important element of the Andean landscape in recent years, and its increase has been generally associated with areas of forest recovery after continuous selective logging. ...
... Cramer, Hobbs, and Standish (2008) state that the causes of abandoned lands are a complex mixture between social, economical, and ecological factors and that the increase of rural-urban migration is currently a worldwide tendency. In the Colombian Andes, many recovered areas are not influenced by incentives for conservation or the adoption of friendly agriculture techniques for the benefit of biodiversity or market trends, as has occurred in some Central American countries (Lugo 2002;Redo et al. 2009). Instead these areas respond to socioeconomic events that have occurred in Colombia over the past 20 years. ...
... Deforestation is another key reason why montane landscapes are vulnerable to the 'natural disasters' that continue to riddle both rural and urban mountain regions (Redo et al., 2009). Deforestation becomes apparent when forests are changed to another form of land cover and tree canopy level plummet below arboreal thresholds (Lambin et al., 2003), as illustrated by Redo et al. (2009) for Honduras, the poorest and most heavily forested (4,600,000-5,400,000 ha) country in Central America. ...
... Deforestation is another key reason why montane landscapes are vulnerable to the 'natural disasters' that continue to riddle both rural and urban mountain regions (Redo et al., 2009). Deforestation becomes apparent when forests are changed to another form of land cover and tree canopy level plummet below arboreal thresholds (Lambin et al., 2003), as illustrated by Redo et al. (2009) for Honduras, the poorest and most heavily forested (4,600,000-5,400,000 ha) country in Central America. Honduras and many other tropical American countries are hotspots of biodiversity and contain multiple ecological regions (Dettman 2006) that are sensitive to climate change, particularly in the cloud forest belt (Kappelle & Brown 2001). ...
Article
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Tropical mountain communities are susceptible to natural hazards due to severe local landscape features. In addition, their peripheral network of disaster mitigation can be meager leading to population loss, not only from the death toll of catastrophic episodes, but also, by overall attrition due to failing socioeconomic ventures that fuel emigration. For sustainable development, ecological risk must be overcome in order to reduce vulnerability associated with uncertain social, political, and economic futures, thereby achieving a sustainable level of risk that will permit communities to exist in the long term. Educational efforts should include different pedagogical approaches that will better aid environmental interpretation of land use management and technological implementation of land-hazard analysis. This is the best way to understand landscape transitions, from isolated, unstable economies into a linked global production systems. As previous environmental awareness fades, a new paradigm should include sustainability consciousness—from an economic and ecological perspective—as part of a trend towards securing a reliable and respectable future for mountain communities. Sustainability is a governmental responsibility that can be addressed through education of young generations that includes the promotion of policies which generate sustainable economic practices. Purely technological solutions to combat poverty may not provide long-term solutions if changes in attitude are not prompted at an early age in the schooling of mountain communities' youth. Without sustainability education, the highland exodus towards the lowland plains will continue to rise.
... Owing to the limited cartographic information available, the transformation has not yet been individually analyzed in every zone in which it occurred. Verburg et al. 2006;Redo, Joby Bass, and Millington (2009) mention the importance of analyzing the dynamics of forest cover change at specific sites and at the local level. After analyzing the change of forest cover in four areas of western Honduras, Redo, Joby Bass, and Millington (2009) found deforestation dynamics in some areas and forest recovery in others and drew attention to the importance of analyzing the immediate causes of the changes. ...
... Verburg et al. 2006;Redo, Joby Bass, and Millington (2009) mention the importance of analyzing the dynamics of forest cover change at specific sites and at the local level. After analyzing the change of forest cover in four areas of western Honduras, Redo, Joby Bass, and Millington (2009) found deforestation dynamics in some areas and forest recovery in others and drew attention to the importance of analyzing the immediate causes of the changes. ...
Article
During the last few decades El Salvador has been considered as one of the most deforested countries in Latin America. Nevertheless, recent studies have pointed out the important forest recovery process currently occurring, which is favoured by socio-political changes recently experienced in this country. The latest research on forest recovery has been done at the level of the entire country; however, socio-environmental processes at the local level have not yet been examined. This article discusses the forest regrowth process at the local level in the natural area of Cinquera during the period from 1942 to 2004. It also illustrates how the effort made by local communities becomes an opportunity for the introduction of a new approach to biodiversity protection in El Salvador.
... With regard to impacts of smallholder agriculture on deforestation, there is evidence that indicates that traditional agriculture has little impact on deforestation and leads to relatively diversified land-use mosaics while adoption of livestock production tends to fuel forest conversion [103]. In turn, some observers note that areas with peasant coffee production have experienced reforestation as a consequence of the way in which the production is organized in the landscape [17,104]. ...
Article
Full-text available
Important transformations are underway in tropical landscapes in Latin America with implications for economic development and climate change. Landscape transformation is driven not only by national policies and markets, but also by global market dynamics associated with an increased role for transnational traders and investors. National and global trends affect a disparate number of social, political and economic interactions taking place at the local level, which ultimately shapes land-use and socio-economic change. This paper reviews five different trajectories of landscape change in tropical Latin America, and discusses their implications for development and conservation: (1) Market-driven growth of agribusiness; (2) expansion and modernization of traditional cattle ranching; (3) slow growth of peasant agriculture; (4) logging in production forest frontiers; and (5) resurgence of agro-extractive economies. Contrasting trade-offs between economic development and forest conservation emerge across these landscapes, calling for nuanced policy responses to manage them in the context of climate change. This discussion sets the background to assess how reduction of emissions from deforestation and forest degradation and enhancing carbon stocks (REDD+) aims should be better aligned with current landscape trajectories and associated actors to better address climate-change mitigation in forest landscapes with effective and equitable outcomes.
... En lo que respecta a los impactos de la agricultura de los pequeños propietarios sobre la deforestación, las pruebas indican que la agricultura tradicional tiene poco impacto sobre la misma y lleva a mosaicos de tierra diversificados mientras que la adopción de la producción ganadera tiende a incentivar la conversión de bosques [103]. A su vez, algunos observadores sostienen que las áreas con producción campesina de café han experimentado reforestación como consecuencia de la manera en que la producción está organizada en el paisaje [17,104]. ...
... Cramer, Hobbs, and Standish (2008) state that the causes of abandoned lands are a complex mixture between social, economical, and ecological factors and that the increase of rural–urban migration is currently a worldwide tendency. In the Colombian Andes, many recovered areas are not influenced by incentives for conservation or the adoption of friendly agriculture techniques for the benefit of biodiversity or market trends, as has occurred in some Central American countries (Lugo 2002; Redo et al. 2009). Instead these areas respond to socioeconomic events that have occurred in Colombia over the past 20 years. ...
... That said, a number of cases of forest expansion have been observed, in a process referred to as the 'forest transition,' the spatial recovery of forest ecosystems after prolonged periods of agricultural land use (Mather, 1992; Walker, 1993). As with deforestation, a large literature now addresses forest transition, providing both case studies and conceptual frameworks aimed at understanding the social and economic processes that generate it (e.g., Barbier, Burgess, & Grainger, 2009; Perz, 2007; Perz & Skole, 2003; Redo, Bass, & Millington, 2009; Rudel, Bates, & Machinguiashi, 2002; Walker, 2008). Occurrence of forest transition (FT) in many parts of the world has raised hopes that macro-scale forces of economic development will bring about a spontaneous solution to the deforestation problem now affecting the tropics (Chomitz, 2006). ...
Article
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This article adapts a general equilibrium model that provides a spatial solution for land use, labor allocation, and product markets in a two good economy. The adaptation, based on von Thünen, considers the multi-regional case, and solves for two regions, one industrial and the other, a newly opened agricultural frontier. The conceptual framework is considered with reference to Brazil, where forest recovery in the Atlantic Rainforest occurs simultaneously with forest losses in Amazonia. Simulation results of the theoretical model are given, demonstrating the impacts of comparative advantage in regional agriculture on the spatial system. The main theoretical interest of the article, aside from providing a formal spatial statement, is to define a distinction between aggregate forest transition (A-FT), when the area of all forests in a multi-regional system increases with the advent of trade relations, and regional forest transition (R-FT), when forest recovery is spatially constrained, and depends on forest losses elsewhere. Thus, the article addresses the role of scale in defining forest transition, and does so by representing spatial dynamics with a formal model. It also suggests that forest transition privileges one biome at the expense of others, and that a concept of landscape turnaround is more germane from a wildlands conservation perspective. The article closes with a discussion of Brazil, and how its forests in Amazonia and along the Atlantic will fare in the coming years.
... With regard to impacts of smallholder agriculture on deforestation, there is evidence that indicates that traditional agriculture has little impact on deforestation and leads to relatively diversified land-use mosaics while adoption of livestock production tends to fuel forest conversion [103]. In turn, some observers note that areas with peasant coffee production have experienced reforestation as a consequence of the way in which the production is organized in the landscape [17,104]. ...
Article
Full-text available
Important transformations are underway in tropical landscapes in Latin America with implications for economic development and climate change. Landscape transformation is driven not only by national policies and markets, but also by global market dynamics associated with an increased role for transnational traders and investors. National and global trends affect a disparate number of social, political and economic interactions taking place at the local level, which ultimately shapes land-use and socio-economic change. This paper reviews five different trajectories of landscape change in tropical Latin America, and discusses their implications for development and conservation: (1) Market-driven growth of agribusiness; (2) expansion and modernization of traditional cattle ranching; (3) slow growth of peasant agriculture; (4) logging in production forest frontiers; and (5) resurgence of agro-extractive economies. Contrasting trade-offs between economic development and forest conservation emerge across these OPEN ACCESS Forests 2011, 2 2 landscapes, calling for nuanced policy responses to manage them in the context of climate change. This discussion sets the background to assess how reduction of emissions from deforestation and forest degradation and enhancing carbon stocks (REDD+) aims should be better aligned with current landscape trajectories and associated actors to better address climate-change mitigation in forest landscapes with effective and equitable outcomes.
... Ultimately, which of these pathways drive forest transition has important implications for the development of policies intended to increase forest cover (Klooster 2003). The country context can strongly influence which factors are most important, and whether the country is in the developed or developing world may influence the degree to which the pathways described in forest transition theory are applicable (Rudel et al. 2002;Perz 2007;Redo et al. 2009). Further, although research at the nationallevel has helped to elucidate some of the common characteristics among countries that have undergone a forest transition, the conditions that promote plantation establishment among rural landowners are not well understood (Rudel 2009). ...
Article
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Forest transition theory provides a framework for understanding scenarios where countries shift from a period of decreasing to increasing forest cover, through forest regrowth or plantation establishment. National-level research has helped elucidate some of the common pathways among countries that have undergone forest transition. However, the conditions that promote plantation establishment among rural landowners are not well understood. An evaluation of three plantations in the Ecuadorian Andes indicated that rural landowners responded to different priorities, opportunities, and constraints, which translated into different levels of importance for each of the proposed pathways to forest transition. In these cases, the most important pathways were associated with globalization and decisions by smallholders to use tree-based strategies to try to restore land or provide economic diversification. This study suggests that these pathways deserve further attention, particularly in developing country contexts or cases where forest transition is dominated by plantations.
... However, national-level analyses of rates and drivers of deforestation (both direct and indirect) might oversimplify reality in many tropical countries, leading to political responses that might be applicable according to local conditions in some parts of the territory but not in others. Many of the recent deforestation studies in Latin American countries are focused on specific regions within these countries (Redo et al. 2009; Calvo-Alvarado et al. 2009; Portillo-Quintero et al. 2012; Monzón-Alvarado et al. 2012; Stevens et al. 2011; López and Sierra 2010; Zeledon and Kelly 2009; Forrest et al. 2008; Huang et al. 2007) and many of those studies that are at the national level (Herrador Valencia et al. 2011; Angulo 2011; Huang et al. 2009; Wright and Samaniego 2008) do not incorporate differences among regions and thus do not take into consideration how climatic drivers vary across the country or affect deforestation more substantially in some areas, whereas human-related drivers predominate in others . These studies also often do not look at the interlinkages among direct and indirect drivers, and some authors argue that countries remain relatively cohesive socioeconomic units (Rudel and Roper 1997). ...
Article
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Global tropical deforestation continues to occur at high rates despite political attention. National-level forest baselines are being established all over the world to guide the implementation of several policy mechanisms. However, identifying the direct and indirect drivers of deforestation and understanding the complexity of their interlinkages are often difficult. We first analyzed deforestation between 1990 and 2005 at the national level and found an annual deforestation rate of 0.62 %. Next, we performed separate analyses for four natural regions in Colombia and found annual deforestation rates between 0.42 and 1.92 %. Using general linear models, we identified several direct causes and underlying factors influencing deforestation at the national level: rural population density, cattle, protected areas, and slope. Significant differences in deforestation rates and causes were found across regions. In the Caribbean region, drivers of loss are urban population, unsatisfied basic needs, slope, and precipitation and four land use variables (illicit crops, pastures, cattle, and fires). In the Orinoco region, crops are the main driver of forest loss, and in the Amazonian region, deforestation is primarily due to fires related to the colonization front. Policy mechanisms will have to take into account regional patterns to successfully balance development and forest preservation in Colombia.
... Even if, say, only 1% (or 5% or 50%) of the world's forests are growing (or declining in biomass density) fast enough for change to be observed over 3 – 5 years, that information represents a significant advancement to our current understanding of forest (and carbon) dynamics. Such information exists for some developed countries in the northern midlatitudes , and for selected subnational regions [e.g., Sloan, 2008; Redo et al., 2009], but for most forests of the world, that information is lacking. [58] In tropical countries where forest inventories are rare, there are, nevertheless, permanent plots where aboveground biomass density has been observed to change, increasing in some areas and decreasing in others [Phillips et al., 1998; Baker et al., 2004; Clark, 2004; Feeley et al., 2007; Chave et al., 2008]. ...
Article
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Our knowledge of the distribution and amount of terrestrial biomass is based almost entirely on ground measurements over an extremely small, and possibly biased sample, with many regions still unmeasured. Our understanding of changes in terrestrial biomass is even more rudimentary, although changes in land use, largely tropical deforestation, are estimated to have reduced biomass, globally. At the same time, however, the global carbon balance requires that terrestrial carbon storage has increased, albeit the exact magnitude, location, and causes of this residual terrestrial sink are still not well quantified. A satellite mission capable of measuring aboveground woody biomass could help reduce these uncertainties by delivering three products. First, a global map of aboveground woody biomass density would halve the uncertainty of estimated carbon emissions from land use change. Second, an annual, global map of natural disturbances could define the unknown but potentially large proportion of the residual terrestrial sink attributable to biomass recovery from such disturbances. Third, direct measurement of changes in aboveground biomass density (without classification of land cover or carbon modeling) would indicate the magnitude and distribution of at least the largest carbon sources (from deforestation and degradation) and sinks (from woody growth). The information would increase our understanding of the carbon cycle, including better information on the magnitude, location, and mechanisms responsible for terrestrial sources and sinks of carbon. This paper lays out the accuracy, spatial resolution, and coverage required for a satellite mission that would generate these products.
... However, recently, agriculture abandonment rates have risen globally (Kauppi et al., 2006), especially in parts of North America (Klooster, 2003, Ramankutty, Heller, & Rhemtulla, 2010, Europe (Baumann et al., 2011;Kuemmerle et al., 2008;Müller et al., 2009) and South America (Aide, Zimmerman, Herrera, Rosari, & Serrano, 1995;Farley, 2007). Most recently agricultural abandonment has occurred in temperate regions, but also in tropical countries such as Puerto Rico (Grau et al., 2003), Mexico (Klooster, 2003), Ecuador (Farley, 2007), Honduras (Redo, Joby Bass, & Millington, 2009), Panama (Sloan, 2008), and Vietnam (Meyfroydt & Lambin, 2008). However, reliable data on abandonment are missing for most countries (Herold, Mayaux, Woodcock, Baccini, & Schmullius, 2008;Lepers et al., 2005;Ramankutty et al., 2007). ...
Article
Agriculture is expanding and intensifying in many areas of the world, but abandoned agriculture is also becoming more widespread. Unfortunately, data and methods to monitor abandoned agriculture accurately over large areas are lacking. Remote sensing methods may be able to fill this gap though, especially with the frequent observations provided by coarser-resolution sensors and new classification techniques. Past efforts to map abandoned agriculture relied mainly on Landsat data, making it hard to map large regions, and precluding the use of phenology information to identify abandoned agriculture. Our objective here was to test methods to map abandoned agriculture at broad scales with coarse-resolution satellite imagery and phenology data. We classified abandoned agriculture for one Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) tile in Eastern Europe (-1,236,000 km(2)) where abandoned agriculture was widespread. Input data included Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) and reflectance bands (NASA Global MODIS Terra and Aqua 16-Day Vegetation Indices for the years 2003 through 2008, -250-m resolution), as well as phenology metrics calculated with TIMESAT. The data were classified with Support Vector Machines (SVM). Training data were derived from several Landsat classifications of agricultural abandonment in the study area. A validation was conducted based on independently collected data. Our results showed that it is possible to map abandoned agriculture for large areas from MODIS data with an overall classification accuracy of 65%. Abandoned agriculture was widespread in our study area (15.1% of the total area, compared to 29.6% agriculture). We found strong differences in the MODIS data quality for different years, with data from 2005 resulting in the highest classification accuracy for the abandoned agriculture class (42.8% producer's accuracy). Classifications of MODIS NDVI data were almost as accurate as classifications based on a combination of both red and near-infrared reflectance data. MODIS NDVI data only from the growing-season resulted in similar classification accuracy as data for the full year. Using multiple years of MODIS data did not increase classification accuracy. Six phenology metrics derived with TIMESAT from the NDVI time series (2003-2008) alone were insufficient to detect abandoned agriculture, but phenology metrics improved classification accuracies when used in conjunction with NDVI time series by more than 8% over the use of NDVI data alone. The approach that we identified here is promising and suggests that it is possible to map abandoned agriculture at broad scales, which is relevant to gain a better understanding of this important land use change process.
... Vegetation and landcover change are therefore critical issues for landscape conservation, management and planning. Despite the increasing number of studies investigating land-cover change over the last two decades, most of the studies in Latin America have focused mainly on: patterns (Sandoval & Real 2005;Echeverría et al. 2008) rather than on processes (but see Baldi & Paruelo 2008); tropical (Geist & Lambin 2002;Armenteras et al. 2006;Chowdhury 2006), rather than on temperate regions (but see Sandoval & Real 2005;; deforestation (Armenteras et al. 2006;Cayuela et al. 2006;Echeverría et al. 2006Echeverría et al. , 2008Zak et al. 2008;Gasparri & Grau 2009) rather than on afforestation (but see, Munroe et al. 2002;Etter et al. 2006;Calvo-Alvarado et al. 2009;Clement et al. 2009;Redo et al. 2009); and; forests (Armenteras et al. 2006;Echeverría et al. 2008) rather than on vegetation as a whole, including other vegetation types such as shrubland or pastureland. There are therefore important gaps that need to be addressed in the Latin American context. ...
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Questions: Which are the factors that influence forest and shrubland loss and regeneration and their underlying drivers? Location: Central Chile, a world biodiversity hotspot. Methods: Using land-cover data from the years 1975, 1985, 1999 and 2008, we fitted classification trees and multiple logistic regression models to account for the relationship between different trajectories of vegetation change and a range of biophysical and socio-economic factors. Results: The variables that most consistently showed significant effects on vegetation change across all time-intervals were slope and distance to primary roads. We found that forest and shrubland loss on one side and regeneration on the other often displayed opposite patterns in relation to the different explanatory variables. Deforestation was positively related to distance to primary roads and to distance within forest edges and was favoured by a low insolation and a low slope. In turn, forest regeneration was negatively related to the distance to primary roads and positively to the distance to the nearest forest patch, insolation and slope. Shrubland loss was positively influenced by slope and distance to cities and primary roads and negatively influenced by distance to rivers. Conversely, shrubland regeneration was negatively related to slope, distance to cities and distance to primary roads and positively related to distance from existing forest patches and distance to rivers. Conclusions: This article reveals how biophysical and socioeconomic factors influence vegetation cover change and the underlying social, political and economical drivers. This assessment provides a basis for management decisions, considering the crucial role of perennial vegetation cover for sustaining biodiversity and ecosystem services.
... Due to case selection bias (Redo, Bass, & Millington, 2009), this analysis of the literature is a poor indicator of the evolution of forest cover at the national level. For our purposes, it is nevertheless useful as, first, it shows that forest expansion is not limited to northern Phetchabun Province, and, second, it lends credence to the idea that reforestation became increasingly present in the 1990s and 2000s. ...
Article
Several Asian developing countries recently reported a net increase in forest cover. In Thailand, such reports have been vehemently rejected by forest officials, researchers, politicians, and international organizations alike. According to the dominant interpretation, the apparent forest regrowth derives from a methodological artifact. While the determination of the true evolution of forest cover has important implications, this interpretation has never been subject to scrutiny. This article presents a broad range of data and analyses suggesting important flaws in this interpretation. Based notably on (1) a critical review of available forest statistics and the methodology used to produce these statistics, (2) case study material from northern Phetchabun Province, and (3) an analysis of recent sub-national remote-sensing surveys, we reject the dominant interpretation of official statistics and suggest that reforestation has increased in Thailand and plausibly became the overall trend in the late 1990s.
... Throughout a slightly different time frame, 1974 to 1990, total reductions of dense forest in the central Chiapas highlands, Huistán, and Chanal were 42, 32, and 49%, respectively, with most of the deforestation in Huistán occurring specifically in pine-oak forest (Ochoa-Gaona and González-Espinosa 2000). In the mid-1980's, the estimated rate of forest loss in Guatemala was 60,000 ha/year (148,263 ac/year;Lyons 1990 Throughout the region, habitat loss and fragmentation result from extraction of timber, agriculture, firewood collection (favoring oak species), forest fires, cattle ranching, coffee plantations, and illegal logging (Table 7.8; Dinerstein et al. 1995, Ochoa-Gaona 2001, ACMPOF 2008, Redo et al. 2009 2009). ACMPOF (2008) estimated that 74% of the original forest cover in the region has been lost due to agricultural expansion, resulting in a current forested area of 2,672,835 ha (6,604,719 ac). ...
... En México más de 99% de los predios cafetaleros se encuentra bajo cobertura arbórea (Moguel y Toledo, 1999; Fideicomiso Instituidos en Relación con la Agricultura [FIRA], 2016), esto representa más de 600 mil hectáreas, donde los cafetaleros están generando ingresos por la producción de café y de forma directa e indirecta apoyan la conservación de la diversidad biológica y garantizan el suministro de servicios ecosistémicos. Diversos autores reconocen que los agroecosistemas de café ayudan al mantenimiento de la diversidad debido a su complejidad estructural y a que disminuyen la presión sobre las áreas remanentes de vegetación original (Redo et al., 2009); por ejemplo, aquellos que sirven como zona de amortiguamiento al bosque mesófilo de montaña (Williams-Linera, Manson e Isunza-Vera, 2002; Castillo-Capitán, Ávila-Bello, López-Mata y León, 2014). Sin embargo, las áreas cafetaleras son susceptibles a ser modificadas por cambios de uso del suelo cuando los productores enfrentan crisis económicas por largos periodos con precios bajos o problemas fitosanitarios que afectan el rendimiento (Ponette-González, 2007), lo que propicia el cambio en la vocación de las tierras a usos agropecuarios con las consecuencias previsibles para la provisión de servicios ecosistémicos (Castillo-Capitán, et al. 2014). ...
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En México, los cafetales bajo sombra constituyen parte del paisaje agroforestal y representan el refugio de una alta diversidad biológica. Sin embargo, están sujetos a procesos de transformación derivados de las necesidades de los productores y las demandas del mercado, lo que afecta la configuración del agroecosistema. Este trabajo tuvo como objetivo cuantificar las transformaciones de los usos de suelo relacionados con los cafetales en la cuenca alta de La Antigua, durante un periodo de 24 años. Se analizó la dinámica de cambio en las coberturas de uso del suelo y vegetación, mediante la generación de cartografía con la técnica de clasificación supervisada de las imágenes LANDSAT (TM, ETM y OLI) de los años de 1993, 2003 y 2017 y se analizaron los catalizadores de los cambios que determinan la configuración actual del paisaje agroforestal con base en entrevistas a actores clave de la región. Los resultados muestran que la transformación de los sistemas agroforestales de los cafetales bajo sombra se debe a los cambios de uso del suelo y los programas gubernamentales implementados en la zona. La cafeticultura representa una de las principales fuentes de ingreso en la región del Corredor Ecológico de la Sierra Madre Oriental del estado de Veracruz, por lo que se requiere el desarrollo de estrategias que garanticen el mantenimiento y la sostenibilidad de esta actividad económica en la zona para evitar los impactos potenciales al desarrollo local de las comunidades, así como la afectación o pérdida de los ecosistemas naturales remanentes en la región. In Mexico, shade-grown coffee agroecosystems form part of the agroforestry landscape and provide shelter for a wide range of biological diversity. However, they are subject to transformation processes derived from the needs of producers and market demands, which affects the configuration of the agroecosystem. The present study aimed to quantify the transformations of land use cover related to coffee plantations in the upper La Antigua river basin, that has occurred over a period of 24 years. The dynamics of change in the coverage of land use and vegetation was analyzed, by generating cartography with the supervised classification technique of the LANDSAT images (TM, ETM, and OLI) of the years of 1993, 2003 and 2017 and the analysis of the factors that have promoted the changes that determine the current configuration of the agroforestry landscape, based on interviews with key stakeholders in the region. The results show that the transformation of the agroforestry systems in shade-grown coffee plantations is caused by land use changes and the government programs implemented in the region. Coffee growing represents one of the main sources of income in the Ecological Corridor of the Sierra Madre Oriental of the state of Veracruz, which requires the development of strategies that guarantee the maintenance and sustainability of this economic activity in the zone to avoid the potential impacts to the local development of the communities, as well as the affectation or loss of the natural ecosystems remaining in the region.
... One point mentioned is that the documentation of FT is often restricted to the national scale (Perz 2007). At such highly aggregated scales, decline occurring in one location might be offset by forest recovery in another location (Redo et al. 2009;Yeo and Huang 2013a). Local and regional studies can therefore reveal significant forest dynamics which would otherwise go unnoticed. ...
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A trend of forest area expansion after decades of decline is taking place in many countries around the globe. In Switzerland, forest cover has been expanding since at least the mid-nineteenth century. However, little is known about the patterns of forest area dynamics on a long-term, national scale, nor regarding the precise time of forest transition (FT). In the present study, we reconstruct the trajectories of forest cover over the past 150 years based on historical maps and contemporary national forest inventory data for the purpose of analyzing forest area dynamics at multi-spatial scales. At the national scale, total forest area increased continuously from around 20 % in 1850 to 30 % in 2000, while ancient forest area decreased from 20 % in 1850 down to 11 % in 2000. FT events occurred at the regional scale in the Eastern, Southern and Western Alps around 1880. Since then, forest area has almost doubled in the Southern Alps. In contrast, the Central Plateau is the biogeographical region with the most stable forest cover. The results from the analysis at the local scale confirm the high dynamics in forest cover throughout the study period, causing a steady decline in ancient forest area. These variations in forest cover dynamics confirm the crucial importance of the choice of spatial scale. Historical maps were essential for this long-term study.
... En México más de 99% de los predios cafetaleros se encuentra bajo cobertura arbórea (Moguel y Toledo, 1999; Fideicomiso Instituidos en Relación con la Agricultura [FIRA], 2016), esto representa más de 600 mil hectáreas, donde los cafetaleros están generando ingresos por la producción de café y de forma directa e indirecta apoyan la conservación de la diversidad biológica y garantizan el suministro de servicios ecosistémicos. Diversos autores reconocen que los agroecosistemas de café ayudan al mantenimiento de la diversidad debido a su complejidad estructural y a que disminuyen la presión sobre las áreas remanentes de vegetación original (Redo et al., 2009); por ejemplo, aquellos que sirven como zona de amortiguamiento al bosque mesófilo de montaña (Williams-Linera, Manson e Isunza-Vera, 2002; Castillo-Capitán, Ávila-Bello, López-Mata y León, 2014). Sin embargo, las áreas cafetaleras son susceptibles a ser modificadas por cambios de uso del suelo cuando los productores enfrentan crisis económicas por largos periodos con precios bajos o problemas fitosanitarios que afectan el rendimiento (Ponette-González, 2007), lo que propicia el cambio en la vocación de las tierras a usos agropecuarios con las consecuencias previsibles para la provisión de servicios ecosistémicos (Castillo-Capitán, et al. 2014). ...
Article
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En México, los cafetales bajo sombra constituyen parte del paisaje agroforestal y representan el refugio de una alta diversidad biológica. Sin embargo, están sujetos a procesos de transformación derivados de las necesidades de los productores y las demandas del mercado, lo que afecta la configuración del agroecosistema. Este trabajo tuvo como objetivo cuantificar las transformaciones de los usos de suelo relacionados con los cafetales en la cuenca alta de La Antigua, durante un periodo de 24 años. Se analizó la dinámica de cambio en las coberturas de uso del suelo y vegetación, mediante la generación de cartografía con la técnica de clasificación supervisada de las imágenes LANDSAT (TM, ETM y OLI) de los años de 1993, 2003 y 2017 y se analizaron los catalizadores de los cambios que determinan la configuración actual del paisaje agroforestal con base en entrevistas a actores clave de la región. Los resultados muestran que la transformación de los sistemas agroforestales de los cafetales bajo sombra se debe a los cambios de uso del suelo y los programas gubernamentales implementados en la zona. La cafeticultura representa una de las principales fuentes de ingreso en la región del Corredor Ecológico de la Sierra Madre Oriental del estado de Veracruz, por lo que se requiere el desarrollo de estrategias que garanticen el mantenimiento y la sostenibilidad de esta actividad económica en la zona para evitar los impactos potenciales al desarrollo local de las comunidades, así como la afectación o pérdida de los ecosistemas naturales remanentes en la región.
... En general en esta cuenca, la dinámica de cambios en coberturas terrestres es similar a lo que ocurre en los Andes colombianos (Rodríguez et al., 2012) en donde se han encontrado transiciones sistemáticas entre las categorías de pastos, vegetación secundaria y cultivos, como un práctica tradicional de uso de la tierra en la región. Particularmente, la ganancia neta de la vegetación secundaria que se evidenció en toda la región de los Andes colombianos (Rodríguez et al., 2012), también coincide con las tendencias en otras áreas montañosas tropicales (Gómez-Mendoza, Vega-Peña, Ramírez, Palacio-Prieto, Galicia 2006;Redo, Bass & Millington 2009). ...
... Yang et al. (2007) reiterates the versatility of remotely sensed data in mapping out environmental degradation trends as a result of human-induced impacts and natural factors such as climate change and wildfire across the globe. At global scale, many studies have used remote sensing and geographic information system techniques to map out environmental changes, for instance, Diouf and Lambin (2001), Wasonga (2009), and Tsegaye et al. (2010 in drylands; Shalaby et al. (2012) in agricultural areas; Mwita et al. (2013) in wetlands; Liu et al. (2012) and Peluso (1995); Satake and Rudel (2007); Redo and Millington (2009);Laurin et al. (2013) in forestlands. ...
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IntroductionMulti-temporal land-use and land-cover data provides a historical vehicle for determining and evaluating long-term trends in bio-physical landscapes. Land-use and land-cover assessment and mapping is one of the most useful applications of geographic information system (GIS) for planning, management, and development. This study analyses the spatio-temporal pattern of forest cover dynamics for three decades in Falgore Game Reserve in Kano, Nigeria. The dynamics of forest cover transition during 1985–2015 was analysed using multi-temporal Landsat imagery. ResultsThe spatio-temporal analysis shows that moderate woodland dominated in 1985 (46%) and 2005 (57%) but was replaced by open woodland in 2015 which accounts for 58% of the total area of Falgore Game Reserve (FGR) currently. Dense woodland occupied the least area of the total forest estate that varied between 17% in 1985 and 1% in 2015. The results indicate that dense woodland, moderate woodland, and very open woodland were decreased at annual average rate of 3, 1, and 0.4%. Open woodland had expanded from 21,127 ha in 1985 to 53,392 ha in 2015. The main drivers of forest resource degradation in the area were found to be excessive fuelwood collection, overgrazing, agricultural expansion, and forest fire. Conclusions These findings suggest that protection strategies employed in FGR were not effective as deforestation is still evident in the reserve. Government and environmental based NGOs should therefore prioritize effective and efficient conservation strategy for present and future use of forest resources, in addition to the provision of alternative livelihood sources to communities proximate to the reserve. This will ensure the socio-economic well-being of the locals and sustainable conservation of biological diversity in the area.
... Previous works suggest the need to overcome a simple 'FT/no FT' dichotomy, and highlight the complex and diverse site-specific trends of forest Land-Use Land Cover Change (LULCC) experienced depending, among other things, on landownership structure and public policies (Redo et al., 2009;Schulz et al., 2010;Chowdhury and Moran, 2012;Lindström et al., 2012;Sheffer, 2012;Tavares et al., 2014;Carmona and Nahuelhual, 2012;Devaney et al., 2015). Relevant information to understand causes and consequences of FT lies in the interaction between socioeconomic drivers and environmental conditions. ...
Article
As other Mediterranean areas, Catalonia has experienced a forest transition following rural abandonment during the last sixty years. The GIS reconstruction of three land-use maps of 1868, 1956 and 2005 shows how forests have encroached former cropland and pasture land from the 1950s onwards, after a previous wave of deforestation. Forest inventories reveal the overpressure exerted on woodlands up to the 1950s, and their poor ecological status in terms of age structure, diversity and maturity. They are prone to wildfires, which in turn force a harvest of salvaged wood by a sudden forestry activity that entails a vicious circle: the lack of a proper forest management increases wildfires, and leads to this sort of ‘spasmodic forestry’. To overcome this situation, a sustainable forestry, combined with farming and extensive livestock breeding are needed as a means to perform an active ecological restoration. Historical knowledge can help in this task, by discovering the previous dynamics of current woodlands and providing a guidance to differentiate the scarce oldest forests from the ones that are younger as a result of the overuse exerted up to mid-20th century, and from many others that have regrown since the 1950s in abandoned steep lands.
... The balance between human activities and natural processes could decide future conservation planning over large areas of the planet. Therefore, it is important to quantify the effect of humandriven conversion of natural processes into disturbed or human-dominated environments (Satake and Rudel 2007;Clement et al. 2009;Redo et al. 2009;Marey-Pérez and Rodríguez-Vicente 2009;Kashaigili and Majaliwa 2010). ...
Article
The present study designed to monitor and predict land cover change (LCC) in addition to characterizing LCC and its dynamics over Al-Baha region, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, by utilizing remote sensing and GIS-cellular automata model (Markov-CA). Moreover, to determine the effect of rainwater storage reservoirs as a driver to the expansion of irrigated cropland. Eight Landsat 5/7 TM/ETM images from 1975 to 2010 were analyzed and ultimately utilized in categorizing LC. The LC maps classified into four main classes: bare soil, sparsely vegetated, forest and shrub land, and irrigated cropland. The quantification of LCC for the analyzed categories showed that bare soil and sparsely vegetated was the largest classes throughout the study period, followed by forest, shrubland, and irrigated cropland. The processes of LCC in the study area were not constant, and varied from one class to another. There were two stages in bare soil change, an increase stage (1975–1995) and decline stage (1995–2010), and the construction of 25 rainwater-harvesting dams in the region was the turning point in bare soil change. The greatest increase was observed in irrigated cropland after 1995 in the expense of the other three categories as an effect of extensive rainwater harvesting practices. Losses were evident in forest and shrubland and sparsely vegetated land during the first stage (1975–1995) with 5.4 and 25.6 % of total area in 1995, while in 1975, they covered more than 13.8 and 32.7 % of total area. During the second stage (1995–2010), forest and shrubland witnessed a significant increase from 1569.17 km2 in 1975 to 1840.87 km2 in 2010. Irrigated cropland underwent the greatest growth (from 422.766 km2 in 1975 to 1819.931 km2 in 2010) during the entire study period, and this agriculture expansion reached its zenith in the 2000s. Markov-CA simulation in 2050 predicts a continuing upward trend in irrigated cropland and forest and shrubland areas, as well as a downward trend in bare soil and sparsely vegetated areas; the spatial distribution prediction indicates that irrigated cropland will expand around reservoirs and the mountain areas. The validation result showed that the model successfully identified the state of land cover in 2010 with 97 % agreement between the actual and projected cover. The output of this study would be useful for decision makers and LC/land use planners in Saudi Arabia and similar arid regions.
... As presented in Figure 6(b), variations in forest cover were studied through bi-temporal, multi-temporal, or time-series analysis. Studies which encompassed bi-temporal assessments (Saatchi, Soares, and Alves 1997;Alves et al. 1999;Strozzi et al. 1999; Van Laake and Sánchez-Azofeifa 2004; Shimabukuro et al. 2007;Sesnie et al. 2008;Redo, Joby Bass, and Millington 2009;Mello et al. 2011) basically estimated changes in the forest by comparing TMs previously generated from two satellite images obtained at different points in time. The time span of the majority of the studies varied from 1 to 10 years locally focusing on the Amazonian region and applying medium-resolution data (Landsat). ...
Article
Tropical forest cover has varied greatly over the last few decades. The rapid advance of agricultural crops and illegal clearings in natural areas has resulted in the conversion of the majority of the world’s forest into desolated patches. Although rates of deforestation have decreased compared to previous years, forest loss still remains a crucial concern. Latest studies conducted on a global scale identified the Latin American continent as one of the regions exhibiting the highest rates of deforestation in the world. The dynamics of forests over the past 40 years has attracted numerous remote-sensing-based studies to monitor forest loss, analyse patterns, and understand the drivers of land conversion. This review article provides a comprehensive overview of the remote-sensing-based studies of tropical forest dynamics in Latin America. Following an introduction with respect to global forestmapping products, a general outline of tropical forest ecoregions and drivers of deforestation in Latin America is provided. Subsequently, a review and categorization of the existing studies is presented, where focus is laid on selected sensors and data analysis methodologies apply. Furthermore, a case study for the whole of Paraguay is presented; Paraguay is a region which contains highly diverse ecosystems that have been ravaged as a result of deforestation over the past 40 years. The main results, challenges, and future needs are discussed.
... En términos generales se estima que entre el 30 y 50% de la superficie terrestre ha sido transformada o degradada por las actividades antrópicas (Vitousek et al., 1997). Sin embargo, en los años recientes, varios estudios han demostrado una recuperación de las áreas con vegetación arbórea y arbustiva, proceso conocido como transición forestal (Satake and Rudel, 2007), en áreas tales como Vietnam (Meyfroidt y Lambin, 2008;Clement, et al., 2009), Honduras (Redo et al., 2009) y España. (Marey-Perez et al., 2009), entre otras. ...
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Informe final Presentado a Dirección General de Asunto del Personal Académico DGAPA, Programa de Proyectos de Investigación e Innovación tecnológica PAPIIT
... A fruitful debate and synthesis requires further development of theoretical frameworks and more in-depth and embedded case studies at the national, regional, and local levels (Redo et al. 2009). ...
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Forest loss in the tropics is one of the most critical contemporary environmental problems. Understanding the complex sociopolitical and ecological forces operative in producing this problem has thus become an important scientific mandate. Some recent literature has suggested that modern market economy trends in Latin America—namely, rural out-migration and policies strongly favoring high-input, industry-based agriculture—have helped curtail and sometimes revert the net loss of tropical forests, mainly through afforestation of land abandoned by smallholders. Government in Mexico, a megadiverse country with one of the biggest out-migration and remittance economies in the world, has excelled in applying free-market policies and in discouraging historical smallholder agriculture. Our analysis of Mexico's development path and of recent deforestation and reforestation trends at the national, regional, and local levels shows that, contrary to expectations, net deforestation is still occurring, and that other development, agricultural, and reforestation strategies are needed.
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ABSTRACT 1: Understanding of drivers of deforestation is critical to develop policies and measures aimed to improve the current trends of forest loss towards more sustainable activities. The purpose of this study was to identify the key drivers of land use change using spatial modeling through Dynamics EGO tool in an area of 16 300km2 in the central and northeastern region of Nicaragua. The study used input variables obtained from different institutions in Nicaragua and three maps of land use change for the years 2000, 2008 and 2014. It was found that for each region there were several factors that influenced changes such as distances to population centers, roads, rivers, soil type, the influence of Hurricane Felix and distance to coffee and cacao crops. This research showed that Dinamica EGO modeling software is a tool that can easily and fairly accurately model future scenarios of land use change for the study area. ABSTRACT 2: The estimation of biomass and carbon stocks with high precision becomes a challenge in tropical regions due to the complex structure of their forests. The purpose of this study was to develop a predictive model for mapping estimated aboveground biomass and carbon stocks in forests in an area of 16 301km2 in the central and northeastern region of Nicaragua. The study used data from satellite radar Alos Palsar for the years 2008 and 2009, using the L band and the HV polarization. In addition, field data for trees with a diameter at breast height > 20 cm, collected in the National Forest Inventory developed by the National Forest Institute of Nicaragua. Aboveground biomass was estimated using the allometric equation of Brown. The relationship found between the radar backscatter coefficient and the estimated biomass in field plots was statistically significant (r2= 0.83). The estimated biomass is in the range of 0 – 905.73 Mg ha-1 for broadleaf forest and 0 – 146.55 Mg ha-1 for coniferous forest. This research shows that Alos Palsar in similar conditions to the study area can estimate biomass with an acceptable level of certainty at low cost and with an appropriate level of accuracy in dense tropical broadleaf and coniferous forests.
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This study uses a combination of satellite imagery and GIS data, a vegetation map, interview data, and on-site field studies to map detailed natural vegetation to land-use conversion pathways (~ 22,000 possible combinations) in the seasonal tropics of Santa Cruz Department in southeastern Bolivia from 1994 to 2008. We mapped a suite of land-use classes based on the seasonal phenology of double- and single season cropping regimes; pasture; and bare soil cropland (fallow). Analyses focus specifically on the Corredor Bioceánico, which bisects some of the most sensitive and poorly understood ecosystems in the world and indirectly creating one of the most important agricultural region-deforestation hotspots in South America at the present time. Training data to predict class membership were based on MODIS NDVI annual mean, maximum, minimum, and amplitude derived from field observations, semi-structured interviews, and aerial videography. Results show that over 8,000 km2 of forest was lost during the 14-year study period. In the first years of cultivation, pasture is the dominant land use, but quickly gives way to cropland. The main findings according to forest type is that transitional forest types on deep and poorly drained soils of alluvial plains have lost the most in terms of percentage area cleared. The resulting transition pathways can potentially provide decision-makers with more detailed insight as to the proximate causes or driving forces of land change in addition to the most threatened forests remaining in the Tierras Bajas and those most likely to be cleared in the Brazilian Shield and Pantanal.
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At the national scale, forest cover in Guatemala declined at an annual rate of 1.2% during the past quarter century because of settlement that removed primary forests in the northern region of the country; however, the majority of the population of Guatemala still resides in the densely populated central highlands and has extracted timber and fuelwood from adjacent forests for centuries. Using baseline data recorded in 1987 and 1996, this article reexamined the sustainability of a municipal-communal pine forest in San José La Arada, a municipality in eastern Guatemala. The pine forest declined from the period 1987 to 1996 because of overextraction of timber and fuelwood. Forest structure and forest use were reexamined from the period 1996 to 2007 to test the hypothesis that the forest continued to decline. Forest characteristics such as stand density, basal area, tree height, and evidence of forest use were measured to replicate the procedures from previous work at the study area. To understand changes in forest structure and forest use in the context of the rise in remittances and the introduction of decentralized forest governance that emerged since 1996, a household survey was conducted in two adjacent villages. Forest structure improved from 1996 to 2007. From 1996 to 2007, forest characteristics such as stand density, basal area, tree height, and forest regeneration improved and evidence of forest use decreased in the municipal-communal pine forest. The influence of large amounts of remittances from the United States and other regions of Guatemala to households in the adjacent villages and the decentralization of forest governance largely explains the shift toward forest sustainability in San José La Arada.
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We analysed land cover change processes over a 28-year time period in Central Mexico, by means of integration of existing databases of land cover and land use (1975 and 2000), and updating through visual interpretation of Landsat MSS and ETM + satellite images and orthophotos (1986, 1996 and 2003). Multitemporal analyses included mapping, evaluation of transition matrices, computation of rates of land use change for the main change processes during each period, and cluster analysis. We used watersheds, subdivided both as sub-watersheds and functional zones, as units of analyses. The processes of land use change in the area were not constant, as most of the land use changes took place over a period of less than ten years. This specific period coincided with both the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986, and a major catastrophic earthquake in central Mexico in 1985. Similarly, processes of land use change differed during the periods of analyses in the watershed functional zones. The methodological approach applied in this analysis integrates standard procedures to evaluate land cover and land use change in watersheds. Due to the practical value of the results, the data and information generated during the analysis have been made available to local authorities.
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As the very identity of indigenous communities is inextricably linked with theirs lands through collective knowledge of their sky and surroundings, they offer valuable insights that provide a crucial foundation for the development of sustainable agricultural practices. Several Central American indigenous agroforestry systems have been documented, however, among them; the Quesungual System is still a poorly documented system from Western Honduras used by Lenca smallholder farmers, which offers a promising opportunity for the establishment of sustainable agroforestry in Honduras
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Knowledge of tropical forest change remains uncertain, affecting our ability to produce accurate estimates of globally aggregated parameters to support clear global statements about 'the tropical forests'. This paper reviews current methods for constructing global knowledge of changes in tropical forest area, carbon density, biodiversity and ecosystem services. It finds a deficiency in formal institutions for global measurement and constructing global knowledge. In their absence, informal institutions have proliferated, increasing the spread of estimates. This is exacerbated by dependence on inaccurate official statistics, which has limited construction of knowledge about forest area change through modelling. Employing the new concept of the Knowledge Exchange Chain shows the interdependence of different disciplines in constructing composite information. Limitations linked to compartmentalization and scale are present, as predicted by the 'post-normal hypothesis'. Disciplinary compartmentalization has impeded construction of information about forest carbon and biodiversity change. There is growth in interdisciplinary research into modelling forest change and estimating carbon emissions using remote sensing data, but not in studying biodiversity. Continuing uncertainty has implications for implementing the Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD) scheme. Uncertainty could be reduced by expanding formal scientific institutions, e.g. by establishing an operational scientific global forest monitoring system, and devising formal generic rules for constructing global environmental knowledge.
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The Spanish conquest of the Cuchumatanes Highlands (1524–1541 ce) led to dramatic land use changes adhering to colonial practices and values, which included the rearing of livestock, agriculture, timber extraction, mining, and the relocation of indigenous populations to new settlements. These changes are often recorded in historical accounts and official records; however, these are sparse, incomplete, and have been lost over the passage of time. Here, we present a high-resolution palaeoenvironmental reconstruction for Cenote Kail (Guatemala) since the Spanish Conquest, to provide additional evidence of land use changes from an integrated multi-proxy perspective. We analysed: (i) fossil pollen; (ii) macroscopic and microscopic charcoal; and (iii) dung fungal spores (Sporormiella) from a lake sediment core extracted from Cenote Kail in the Cuchumatanes highlands, combining these analyses with remotely sensed satellite data. We reconstructed: (i) forest composition and dynamics; (ii) burning, (iii) fauna abundance, and (iv) agricultural activities. High resolution age-depth modelling was conducted using a combination of 210Pb and 14C dates. The high temporal resolution enabled a novel integrated validation of the charcoal data sets with remotely sensed satellite data and the historical record. Three stages of floral compositional change were discerned from the palynological assemblage data encompassing: (i) the decline of mixed hard wood forests (MHWF), associated with the building of new settlements, agriculture and timber extraction for fuel (1550–1675 ce); (ii) pastoral expansions involving the rearing of livestock (1700–1800 ce); and (iii) the expansions of urban settlements and increasing management of the land (1821–2015 ce). Seed predation is suggested as the dominant factor preventing MHWF from re-establishing in the Cuchumatanes Highlands over the past 500 years. Burning is limited locally and regionally and in line with the modern regime, which suggests that fire has been managed and controlled since European contact.
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A multitemporal post-classification study with data from the Landsat Multispectral Scanner (MSS) and Thematic Mapper (TM) was made to detect changes in the landscape of the Majahual coastal system, along the Mexican Pacific. Six land-use classes were used as direct indicators of the landscape condition. Mangrove, lagoon, saltmarsh, dry forest, secondary succession, and agriculture were the categories selected to evaluate the changes by comparing four thematic maps (from 1973 to 1997). The accuracy of the classification (only in the 1997 scene) was calculated from an error matrix, using the overall accuracy assessment (70%) and the Kappa coefficient (0.61). Both values indicate that the agreement in the classification was moderate, but better than one obtained by chance. The analytical comparison of data sets (1973 vs. 1986, 1986 vs. 1990, and 1990 vs. 1997) was done by using a change detection matrix and the Kappa coefficient. Agreement between data sets varied from 61% to 68%, all moderate but enough to determine the general trends of change in the system. These are mainly typified as loss of natural cover (especially dry forest) and the fragmentation of the landscape, with agricultural activities and their subsequent effects (secondary succession, modification of drainage patterns) the main transforming agents.
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A nationwide multidate GIS database was generated in order to carry out the quantification and spatial characterization of land use/cover changes (LUCC) in Mexico. Existing cartography on land use/cover at a 1:250,000 scale was revised to select compatible inputs regarding the scale, the classification scheme and the mapping method. Digital maps from three different dates (the late 1970s, 1993 and 2000) were revised, evaluated, corrected and integrated into a GIS database. In order to improve the reliability of the database, an attempt was made to assess the accuracy of the digitalisation procedure and to detect and correct unlikely changes due to thematic errors in the maps. Digital maps were overlaid in order to generate LUCC maps, transition matrices and to calculate rates of conversion. Based upon this database, rates of deforestation between 1976 and 2000 were evaluated as 0.25 and 0.76% per year for temperate and tropical forests, respectively.
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The literature on whether new roads cause deforestation in developing countries has grown rapidly. However, improvements rather than new construction are increasingly common. Renovations are undertaken when prior maintenance expenditures have not been adequateor when economic or political considerations generate sufficient capital funds. As with new construction, the basic outcome of renovation is to lower transport costs. However, the cost reduction is often much less than that of the original road development. Hence, the potential for negative environmental effects is less clear and an understanding of location-specific effects is likely to be especially important. This article estimates econometrically a spatially explicit economic model of a proposed road improvement activity in Panama’s Darién province and simulates locationspecific effects on land use. The authors explore three estimation techniques that deal with different estimation issues. At least for this data set, multinomial nested logit and random parameters logit approaches provide roughly similar results.
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Developing nations are faced with a two-edged sword in the field of energy. On the one hand the rising price of oil has reduced the potential for fossil fuel energy and eroded foreign exchange reserves in oil-importing countries. At the same time deforestation may be causing increased prices or shortages of fuels such as fuelwood and charcoal. This paper reviews the most recent and sometimes controversial estimates of deforestation in developing countries and analyzes the relationship between deforestation and its probable causes. Three recent estimates of the rate of deforestation in developing countries between 1968 and 1978 are compared using rank order correlation. Two of the estimates, of closed forest and moist tropical forest, are in significant agreement but differ from a third estimate that includes open woodland and regenerating forest. Agreement is strong among all three sources for a restricted group of countries. A cross-national analysis confirms the most frequently cited causes of deforestation. Deforestation from 1968–78 in 39 countries in Africa, Latin America, and Asia is significantly related to the rate of population growth over the period and to wood fuels production and wood exports in 1968; it is indirectly related to agricultural expansion and not related to the growth of per capita GNP. Results indicate that in the short term, deforestation is due to population growth and agricultural expansion, aggravated over the long term by wood harvesting for fuel and export.
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This article presents a synthesis of what is known about areas of rapid land-cover change around the world over the past two decades, based on data compiled from remote sensing and censuses, as well as expert opinion. Asia currently has the greatest concentration of areas of rapid land-cover changes, and dryland degradation in particular. The Amazon basin remains a major hotspot of tropical deforestation. Rapid cropland increase, often associated with large-scale deforestation, is prominent in Southeast Asia. Forest degradation in Siberia, mostly related to logging activities, is increasing rapidly. The southeastern United States and eastern China are experiencing rapid cropland decrease. Existing data do not support the claim that the African Sahel is a desertification hotspot. Many of the most populated and rapidly changing cities are found in the tropics.
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The impacts of coca cultivation and coca eradication on rates of humid tropical forest clearance were examined in the agricultural colonization zone of Chapare, Bolivia. Using satellite image- derived land-use maps, interviews with farmers, and analyses of economic data and policy documents, forest clearance rates were analyzed in three contrasting communities from 1963 to 2003. Deforestation rates were very low from the late 1970s to the early 1990s when coca cultivation was widespread and anti- coca policies were weakly enforced. Before and after this period, deforestation rates were significantly higher. This study provides the first detailed quantitative analysis of deforestation rates under different policy regimes in a coca source region. It provides weak support for the argument that labor constraints lead to a reduction in forest clearance rates during periods of coca cultivation advanced by Kaimowitz (1997); but stronger support for Henkel's (1995) hypothesis that farmers would clear large areas of forest after abandoning coca to maintain household incomes. However, economic arguments based on household data alone are inadequate in explaining forest clearance in this region, and a political ecological approach that analyses economic drivers in a policy framework provides better explains deforestation dynamics.
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Tropical secondary forests, which play an important role in carbon sequestration, may be monitored using space-borne sensors. Secondary forest biomass or age estimation from space-borne data may be used to quantify the carbon sink these forests represent. At current capabilities, roughly three successional stages up to 15 years of age may be identified from Landsat TM data. Using synthetic aperture radar, reliable biomass estimates may be made up to approximately 60 tons/ha. The potential for overcoming these limitations is reviewed, including the synergy of radar and optical imagery and the unprecedented spatial and spectral resolutions of new sensors. Most of the available literature to date is from the Amazon; in this paper, applicability to Central America is considered, which has a much more heterogeneous landscape and the dynamics of secondary growth have a special significance in the framework of conservation biology and carbon sequestration. We conclude that critical issues in this region will be topographical correction and stratification according to ecological and site quality variables.
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The example of the Massif Central, which is the largest mountain area of France, illustrates a widespread type of European mountains: those located at middle altitudes (less than 2000 m), with a past economy based almost exclusively on agriculture and which today offer restricted touristic potentials. Such mountains are severely affected by depopulation which primarily controls contemporary landscape change, much more than climate fluctuations. The growing extension of forests and fallowlands induces feedback effects which combine with current economical trends to marginalize such mountain areas, which return to "mediaeval wilderness". This is especially the case in the central granitic highlands where islands of human life and activities appear more and more restricted. In contrast, some peri-urban and more scenic areas such as the volcanic mountains of the Cantal Massif and the Chaine des Puys, promote tourism activities in natural parks in attempts to limit and halt depopulation. However, the maintenance of attractive landscapes faces two problems: the decreasing number of farmers and the cost of agrienvironmental measures.
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Research on tropical forest cover change processes identifies myriad driving forces and demonstrates how change dynamics are non-linear and complex. Despite appreciation in the academic literature for the historical patterns and processes of deforestation, however, a simplistic, linear 'deforestation narrative' persists in the popular imagination. Concern arises when this narrative influences environmental policy and effective response to the tropical deforestation problem. Our main goals here are twofold: (1) to contribute to a nuanced history of forest change in southeastern Mexico; and (2) to explore the role of institutional development in reducing deforestation rates. Drawing on forest transition theory, we analyse the twentieth century forest histories of the eastern Yucatan Peninsula, the southern Yucatan Peninsula, and the Lacandon Rainforest. A deforestation narrative rightly dominates characterisations of the 1960-85 period in southeastern Mexico, but it falls short of accurately representing the complex processes of deforestation, forest recovery, and the development of sustainability-oriented grassroots institutions in the 1985-2003 period.
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The forest transition is an empirical regularity of long-term changes in forest cover that has been observed in a number of countries and large regions. In the February 2007 issue of The Professional Geographer, Stephen Perz addressed the theoretical explanations that have been advanced to explain forest transition in his article entitled, “Grand Theory and Context-Specificity in the Study of Forest Dynamics: Forest Transition Theory and Other Directions.” Perz criticizes forest transition theory, and suggests possible remedies. This article takes issue with Perz's critique, as well as with the proposed remedies. La transición forestal es una regularidad empírica de los cambios a largo plazo en la cobertura forestal que se han observado en varios países y en regiones de gran tamaño. En el número de febrero de 2007 de la revista The Professional Geographer, Stephen Perz abordó las explicaciones teóricas que se han presentado para explicar la transición forestal, en su artículo titulado “Grand Theory and Context-Specificity in the Study of Forest Dynamics: Forest Transition Theory and Other Directions” (Gran teoría y especificidad del contexto en el estudio de la dinámica forestal: teoría de la transición forestal y otras direcciones). Perz critica la teoría de transición forestal y sugiere medidas correctivas posibles. En este artículo se discute la crítica de Perz así como las medidas correctivas propuestas.
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This article examines forest change in the Brazilian Amazon in light of forest transition theory. We draw on satellite-based land cover data matched in a geographic information system (GIS) to census-based social and agricultural data for Brazilian municipalities at multiple time points. Subregions with distinct settlement histories serve as proxies for different stages along the forest transition, theorized to exhibit depletion of forest cover, eventually followed by a recovery. Satellite images allow for distinctions between primary (old-growth) and secondary (successional) forests, but the data indicate more successional forests than expected. We argue that biophysical impediments (e.g., poor soils) and social obstacles (e.g., capital scarcity) led to limited land settlement, low incomes, urbanization, and a shift from crops to pasture, resulting in the rapid expansion of secondary forests without primary forest depletion. These findings call for refinements in forest transition theory that can better account for land cover changes in tropical regions of non-OECD countries.
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National parks and biological reserves play an important role in counteracting the effects of tropical deforestation in mountainous environments, a leading cause of biodiversity loss worldwide. Unfortunately, information is sparse on the nature, dynamics, and spatial dimension of land use and land cover change processes that contribute to park vulnerability. This article assesses the current state of landscape fragmentation and structure on the Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica, using Landsat Multispectral Scanner and Thematic Mapper satellite scenes between 1979 and 1997. The Osa Peninsula hosts the Corcovado National Park, which contains the only protected region of Tropical Wet forest on the Pacific slopes of Mesoamerica, including a significant number of species that are endemic, threatened, or new to science. The level of isolation of the Corcovado National Park is based on the degree of ecosystem degradation produced by frontal deforestation processes. Our results indicate that the proportion of the Osa Peninsula covered by forest declined from 97% in 1979 to 91% in 1987 and to 89% by 1997. Total forest area declined from 977 km2 in 1979 to 896 km2 by 1997. These results pose significant questions regarding the effectiveness of current conservation efforts in this mountain biodiversity-rich area of Mesoamerica.
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This book includes a theoretical framework, 8 case studies from Latin America, 4 from sub-Saharan Africa and 4 from South East Asia, in addition to two studies on the historical experience of developed countries in Europe and the USA which discuss whether improvements in agricultural technology protect or endanger tropical forests. The studies address the view of many in the development, environmental and agricultural research communities that better agricultural technologies can save forests by producing more food on the existing land area vs. the premise from basic economic theory that anything which makes agriculture more profitable should stimulate land expansion and deforestation.
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Anthropogenic alteration of the landscape is a long-term disturbance both in duration and consequences. This study addresses land-cover responses to a history of human land use in northeastern Puerto Rico. Analysis of aerial photographs indicated that the pattern of land use in the municipality of Luquillo changed dramatically between 1936 and 1988. In 1936, sugar cane and pasture were the dominant land uses, occupying about one third of the study area each, while dense forest was rare. Pasture still occupied about a quarter of the area by 1988, but the area of sugar cane had declined to zero. Most sugar cane land was transformed to pasture after abandonment, while much of the pasture at higher elevations reverted to forest. More than half the study area in 1988 was occupied by dense forest, and the degree of forest regeneration was greatest adjacent to the Luquillo Experimental Forest and around parches that were dense forest remnants in 1936. The overall trend was from high-intensity agriculture to dense forest, bur urban areas increased more than 2000 percent between 1936 and 1988 and are presently encroaching on forested areas. It is unclear from one study whether the same pattern would hold true at other sites in the tropics, but our study indicates the importance of preserving remnants of mature forest as sources of forest regeneration. In addition, the nature of the patches in the Luquillo landscape has changed as the land use has changed. In 1936, dense forest was highly fragmented, the patches were small and many of them had linear configurations (riparian corridors and hedgerows). By 1988, the average parch size of dense forest had increased greatly, although with one exception the parches were still small relative to other land-cover types.
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The example of the Massif Central, which is the largest mountain area of France, illustrates a widespread type of European mountains: those located at middle altitudes (less than 2000 m), with a past economy based almost exclusively on agriculture and which today offer restricted touristic potentials. Such mountains are severely affected by depopulation which primarily controls contemporary landscape change, much more than climate fluctuations. The growing extension of forests and fallowlands induces feedback effects which combine with current economical trends to marginalize such mountain areas, which return to 'mediaeval wilderness'. This is especially the case in the central granitic highlands where islands of human life and activities appear more and more restricted. In contrast, some peri-urban and more scenic areas such as the volcanic mountains of the Cantal Massif and the Chaine des Puys, promote tourism activities in natural parks in attempts to limit and halt depopulation. However, the maintenance of attractive landscapes faces two problems: the decreasing number of farmers and the cost of agri-environmental measures.
Book
Drawing on ethnographic and archival research, "Changing Forests" explores how the indigenous Lenca community of La Campa, Honduras, has conserved and transformed their communal forests through the experiences of colonialism, opposition to state-controlled logging, and the recent adoption of export-oriented coffee production. It merges political ecology, collective-action theories, and institutional analysis to study how the people and forests have changed through socioeconomic and political transitions. It studies the complex, often contradictory relationships between the people and their natural resources to understand why forest cover endures. The discussion of social and forest transformations in La Campa focuses on the past three decades, but the context for understanding the Lenca people and their forest use stretches over 500 years. Although the historical record has many gaps, the initial conditions for human-forest relationships were established in the colonial period, when La Campa was founded and pocesses of conquest ruptured the social fabric. "Changing Forests" therefore encompasses three broad phases: (1) the premodern period, which considers historic perturbations in western Honduras from the period of colonialism into the middle of the twentieth century; (2) the period of state-led logging and intervention in La Campa, which caused major degradation in forest cover; and (3) the recent period in which export coffee production transformed property rights, and people's perceptions of the forest gained new conservationist and economic dimensions. Each phase entails perspectives and experiences that influenced human use of forests, and shaped subsequent transformations. Growing social heterogeneity, population growth, and market integration present challenges for sustainable forest management, but satellite images show that forest cover has expanded since the community prohibited logging in 1987. The indigenous people have created a watershed reserve and agroforestry cooperatives, and maintain forests part of a resilient livelihood strategy. La Campa has been recognized by the Honduran government for its forest conservation efforts.
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Technology has played a fundamental role in mapping, monitoring, and modeling land-use/land-cover (LULC) dynamics across a range of spatial and temporal scales and local, regional, and global extents. Spatial technologies, including remote sensing, geographic information systems (GIS), global positioning systems (GPS), data visualizations, spatial and statistical analyses, and models have combined to position people, place, and the environment within a spatially and temporally explicit context. These technologies help characterize the rate, pattern, and composition of LULC dynamics so that associated drivers of land-use change can be related to socioeconomic, demographic, geographic, and environmental dynamics. Special challenges exist because of inherent differences in how people and the environment are characterized in both space and time. Theories and practices from the social, natural, and spatial sciences are integrated to study LULC dynamics within the context of human-environment interactions. The goal has been to characterize the composition and spatial organization of LULC through its structure, function, and change and to relate the drivers of change to observed or simulated LULC patterns at different scales of analysis. Here we emphasize the use of technology for characterizing LULC dynamics, collecting and linking data from households, communities, regions, and nations with spatially explicit data collected, managed, and integrated within a Geographic Information Science (GISc) perspective. We discuss how technology aids in (1) mapping, monitoring, and modeling LULC dynamics by considering remote-sensing systems for LULC mapping, (2) image change-detection approaches for monitoring land-cover dynamics, (3) socioeconomic and demographic surveys linked to place through GPS technology and other approaches for characterizing the human dimension, (4) GIS for deriving and integrating disparate data, and (5) land-cover models for creating multilevel and spatial simulation of LULC dynamics. We describe how technology is being used to consider human behavior and agency in conjunction with a wide variety of processes associated with land-use/land-cover change.
Article
This article examines forest change in the Brazilian Amazon in light of forest transition theory. We draw on satellite-based land cover data matched in a geographic information system (GIS) to census-based social and agricultural data for Brazilian municipalities at multiple time points. Subregions with distinct settlement histories serve as proxies for different stages along the forest transition, theorized to exhibit depletion of forest cover, eventually followed by a recovery. Satellite images allow for distinctions between primary (old-growth) and secondary (successional) forests, but the data indicate more successional forests than expected. We argue that biophysical impediments (e.g., poor soils) and social obstacles (e.g., capital scarcity) led to limited land settlement, low incomes, urbanization, and a shift from crops to pasture, resulting in the rapid expansion of secondary forests without primary forest depletion. These findings call for refinements in forest transition theory that can better account for land cover changes in tropical regions of non-OECD countries.
Article
Although forests have diminished globally over the past 400 years, forest cover has increased in some areas, including India in the last two decades. Aggregate time-series evidence on forest growth rates and income growth across countries and within India and a newly assembled data set that combines national household survey data, census data, and satellite images of land use in rural India at the village level over a 29-year period are used to explore the hypothesis that increases in the demand for forest products associated with income and population growth lead to forest growth. The evidence is consistent with this hypothesis, which also shows that neither the expansion of agricultural productivity nor rising wages in India increased local forest cover.
Article
The purpose of the paper is to demonstrate how rapidly abandoned agricultural and grazing land becomes naturally forested. The study was carried out in The Romerike Landscape Protection Area in southern Norway. The area is a ravine landscape in a southern boreal vegetation region used for agricultural production and grazing of domestic animals for several hundred years. When agriculture was mechanized and single-product specialization was introduced about 1950, the area was gradually abandoned as agricultural land and lay open for regrowth as a forest ecosystem. The open areas, previously used for grazing, decreased by close to 50%, with an increase in areas covered by shrubs and forest, mainly grey alder. Succession rate of regrowth depended upon distance to forest edge and vegetation type with slower regrowth in wet areas at the bottom of the ravines compared to the dryer areas. The consequences of changes in land use are less diverse communities and a reduction in the length of ecotones between, e.g. forest and open land. The regrowth with forest could reduce the diversity of flora and fauna in the long term.
Article
The once remote and inaccessible forests of Guatemala's Maya Biosphere Reserve (MBR) have recently experienced high rates of deforestation corresponding to human migration and expansion of the agricultural frontier. Given the importance of land-cover and land-use change data in conservation planning, accurate and efficient techniques to detect forest change from multi-temporal satellite imagery were desired for implementation by local conservation organizations. Three dates of Landsat Thematic Mapper imagery, each acquired two years apart, were radiometrically normalized and preprocessed to remove clouds, water, and wetlands, prior to employing the change-detection algorithm. Three change-detection methods were evaluated: normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) image differencing, principal component analysis, and RGB-NDVI change detection. A technique to generate reference points by visual interpretation of color composite Landsat images, for Kappa-optimizing thresholding and accuracy assessment, was employed. The highest overall accuracy was achieved with the RGB-NDVI method (85 percent). This method was also preferred for its simplicity in design and ease in interpretation, which were important considerations for transferring remote sensing technology to local and international non-governmental organizations.
Article
We highlight the complexity of land-use/cover change and propose a framework for a more general understanding of the issue, with emphasis on tropical regions. The review summarizes recent estimates on changes in cropland, agricultural intensification, tropical deforestation, pasture expansion, and urbanization and identifies the still unmeasured land-cover changes. Climate-driven land-cover modifications interact with land-use changes. Land-use change is driven by synergetic factor combinations of resource scarcity leading to an increase in the pressure of production on resources, changing opportunities created by markets, outside policy intervention, loss of adaptive capacity, and changes in social organization and attitudes. The changes in ecosystem goods and services that result from land-use change feed back on the drivers of land-use change. A restricted set of dominant pathways of land-use change is identified. Land-use change can be understood using the concepts of complex adaptive systems and transitions. Integrated, place-based research on land-use/land-cover change requires a combination of the agent-based systems and narrative perspectives of understanding. We argue in this paper that a systematic analysis of local-scale land-use change studies, conducted over a range of timescales, helps to uncover general principles that provide an explanation and prediction of new land-use changes.
Article
Forest area change associated with life zones, slope gradients, and transportation networks was examined within the framework of a geographically referenced data base for Costa Rica. Locations of forest boundaries and other landscape attributes were digitized from available map sources. Differential rates of primary forest clearing associated with these variables were derived for four reference periods between 1940 and 1983.Deforestation occurred predominantly in tropical dry and moist life zones during the early reference periods; in intermediate periods, tropical and premontane moist and wet zones were affected. By 1983, only the less accessible high-rainfall zones in rugged terrain retained relatively undisturbed forest. The relationship between total primary forest cleared and slope gradient began as inverse and did not approach linearity until the last reference period, when improved transportation routes had penetrated the northeastern lowland Atlantic region. Road development that provided access to the forest was an important agent of change in all reference periods. By 1977, all major regions of the country had been penetrated by roads, and only high mountain forests were relatively inaccessible. Significant gaps exist in the data base because forest maps represent only broad zones, and locations of regenerating forest were not available. The historical data will be used to direct satellite monitoring toward landscapes of predicted change to quantitatively assess forest change dynamics.
Article
The article demonstrates how the widespread environmental destruction occurring in Central America is linked to the pattern of agricultural development that has taken place in the region. After presenting a critique of the major paradigms used to analyze environmental problems in the Third World, the study combines a political-economy approach with the concerns of regional ecology to examine the interactions among social processes, demographic trends, production decisions, and environmental decline in southern Honduras. The major conclusions are that the motivation for natural resource exploitation arises from the fundamental structure of society and that the social, demographic, and ecological patterns identified for southern Honduras are widespread throughout Central America. -Author
Article
This study is focused on the global expansion of protect-ed-area coverage that occurred during the 1980–2000 period. We examine the multi-scale patterning of four of the basic facets of this expansion: i) estimated increases at the world-regional and country-level scales of total pro-tected-area coverage; ii) transboundary protected areas; iii) conservation corridor projects; and iv) type of conser-vation management. Geospatial patterning of protected-area designations is a reflection of the priorities of global conservation organizations and the globalization of post-Cold War political and economic arrangements. Local and national-level factors (political leadership and infra-structure) as well as international relations such as mul-tilateral and bilateral aid combine with these globalization processes to impact the extent, type, and location of pro-tected-area designations. We conclude that the interaction of these factors led to the creation and reinforcement of marked spatial differences (rather than tendencies toward worldwide evenness or homogenization) in the course of protected-area expansion during the 1980–2000 period.
Article
Conclusions · Loggers, industrialists, communities and individuals in both the public and private sectors of Honduras and Nicaragua face a number of both constraints to legality and inducements to act illegally. · The legal and policy framework is the source of various failures in law compliance. This framework is sometimes confusing, inconsistent and difficult to comply with. In other cases it opens opportunities for arbitrary interpretation of rules and corruption. Penalties for breaking the law are usually negligible and therefore do not act as a significant deterrent. · These effects are compounded by the lack of state capacity to prevent, detect and enforce the law. Funding and staffing of monitoring and enforcement agencies is inadequate. Full legal property rights are uncommon. Political and economic vested interests heavily influence state recruitment and promotion, negatively affecting performance and integrity. Communication and coordination between various government agencies are poor. High levels of corruption affect the judiciary and police. · Forest sector monitoring and enforcement are also difficult due to inadequate knowledge of forest resources, who owns them, and how they change over time. Illegal logging goes undetected, and the information for successfully prosecuting major offenders is often unavailable. · Poor detection, the difficulty of prosecuting offences, corruption and lenient penalties for forest crime, and other governance limitations, all create substantial incentives to operating in illegal ways. Illegal logging and trade: a major problem Surveys and case studies in Honduras and Nicaragua show that illegal logging and trade of forest products are dominant in both countries (del Gatto, 2002, Alcocer, 2002, Nicambiental, 2002). Illegal logging and trade result in important losses of government revenue, misallocation of scarce economic scarce resources, damage to the environment and poverty impacts1. Since the government in both countries is a major owner of forests and simultaneously bears the main responsibility for the appropriate management of all forest resources — public, private or community controlled — the extent of illegal logging and trade points towards a fundamental breakdown in governance in the sector. Thus, it is not surprising that most of the conditions that favour illegalities in the forestry sectors of Honduras and Nicaragua can be traced to weaknesses of the public forest administration and of other government institutions in both countries. As in most low-income economies, Honduras and Nicaragua share the common feature of a wide gap that exists between the responsibilities of the state and its capacity to discharge them.
Article
This book includes a theoretical framework, 8 case studies from Latin America, 4 from sub-Saharan Africa and 4 from South East Asia, in addition to two studies on the historical experience of developed countries in Europe and the USA which discuss whether improvements in agricultural technology protect or endanger tropical forests. The studies address the view of many in the development, environmental and agricultural research communities that better agricultural technologies can save forests by producing more food on the existing land area vs. the premise from basic economic theory that anything which makes agriculture more profitable should stimulate land expansion and deforestation.
Article
The concept of the forest transition or forest-area transition is discussed in terms of the change from decreasing to expanding forest areas that has taken place in many developed countries. Similarities between historical deforestation in now-developed countries and current deforestation in developing countries are outlined. The question of why and how the forest transition takes place is posed, and some preliminary discussion of the variables that may influence it is presented. Prospects for a forest transition in the tropical world and the world as a whole are considered. -Author
Article
This report describes a program, FRAGSTATS, developed to quantify landscape structure. Two separate versions of FRAGSTATS exist: one for vector images and one for raster images. In this report, each metric calculated by GRAGSTATS is described in terms of its ecological application and limitations. Example landscapes are included, and a discussion is provided of each metric as it relates to the sample landscapes. -from Authors
Article
Many countries of the Third World entered the fourth quarter of the 20th century essentially without having experienced the change in the structure of rural landholding that is part of the so-called liberal revolution. A restructuring of the legal bases of land tenure along "liberal' lines has become the policy of a number of these nations. Countries such as St Lucia, Ecuador, Thailand, and Honduras have attempted large-scale land titling programs. This article assesses the titling program in Honduras, suggesting that it is likely to exacerbate the tendencies toward differentiation characteristic of the capitalist development of agriculture. -from Author
Article
The objective of this study is to better understand the complexity of deforestation processes in southern Cameroon by testing a multivariate, spatial model of land-cover change trajectories associated with deforestation. The spatial model integrates a spectrum of independent variables that characterize land rent on a spatially explicit basis. The use of a time series of high-spatial-resolution remote sensing images (Landsat MSS and SPOT XS), spanning two decades, allows a thorough validation of spatial projections of future deforestation. Remote sensing observations reveal a continuous trend of forest clearing and forest degradation in southern regions of Cameroon, but with a highly fluctuating rate. A significant proportion of the areas subject to a land-cover conversion experienced other changes in the following years. The study also demonstrates that modeling land-cover change trajectories over several observation years allows a better projection of areas with a high probability of change in land-cover than projecting such areas on the basis of observations from the previous time period alone. Statistical results suggest that, in our southern Cameroon study area, roads mostly increased the accessibility of the forest for migrants rather than providing incentives for a transformation of local subsistence agriculture into market-oriented farming systems. The spatial model developed in this study allows simulations of likely impacts of human actions, leading to a transformation of the landscape (e.g., road projects) on key landscape attributes (e.g., biodiversity). Currently, several road projects or major logging concessions exist in southern Cameroon.
Article
During the 20th century, the forest area in Scotland expanded threefold, after many centuries of decline. Similar trends of forest expansion following deforestation have operated in many other developed countries. The passage from net deforestation to net reforestation is defined as the forest transition, and over the last few years a body of theory relating to its drivers has evolved. The case of Scotland is considered in order to contribute to this growing body of theory.
Article
We used three Landsat images together with socio‐economic data in a post‐classification analysis to map the spatial dynamics of land use/cover changes and identify the urbanization process in Nairobi city. Land use/cover statistics, extracted from Landsat Multi‐spectral Scanner (MSS), Thematic Mapper (TM) and Enhanced Thematic Mapper plus (ETM+) images for 1976, 1988 and 2000 respectively, revealed that the built‐up area has expanded by about 47 km. The road network has influenced the spatial patterns and structure of urban development, so that the expansion of the built‐up areas has assumed an accretive as well as linear growth along the major roads. The urban expansion has been accompanied by loss of forests and urban sprawl. Integration of demographic and socio‐economic data with land use/cover change revealed that economic growth and proximity to transportation routes have been the major factors promoting urban expansion. Topography, geology and soils were also analysed as possible factors influencing expansion. The integration of remote sensing and Geographical Information System (GIS) was found to be effective in monitoring land use/cover changes and providing valuable information necessary for planning and research. A better understanding of the spatial and temporal dynamics of the city's growth, provided by this study, forms a basis for better planning and effective spatial organization of urban activities for future development of Nairobi city.
Article
Histories of changing land use and vegetation of a 380-ha forested area in central Massachusetts (Prospect Hill tract of the Harvard Forest) were reconstructed to investigate the environmental controls over land ownership patterns, agricultural practice and logging activity, and the vegetation response to these land-use factors. Forest clearance and agricultural expansion parallel trends for central New England: increasing rates of deforestation through the late 18th century led to a peak in 1820-80 when more than 80% of the land was open. Reforestation on abandoned fields commenced in 1850 and increased progressively through the early 20th century. Ownership patterns varied temporally in turnover rate and size of individual holdings. twenty-five lots comprising the study area were sold an average of 13 times in the period 1730-1910. Land use in the mid 1800s, formed an intricate pattern best explained by soil drainage and proximity to farmhouses and town roads. This land-use pattern controlled the reforestation process. Regionally, the distribution of modern and pre-settlement forest types match well despite structural changes and the loss of some tree species. At a landscape scale, modern forest characteristics are strongly controlled by land use. Long-term forest trends in the 20th century include a decrease in the importance of Pinus strobus due to logging and the 1938 hurricane, a gradual decline in early successional hardwoods and increase in later successional species. -from Author
Article
The Mesoamerican Biological Corridor (MBC) was established in 1997 by the presidents of the seven Central American nations as a crucial environmental region with a central development concept: integrating conservation, sustainable use, and biodiversity within the framework of sustainable economic development. The following year, in an effort to promote the MBC concept, NASA teamed with the Central American Commission on the Environment and Development (CCAD). A Memorandum of Understanding was signed to initiate research in using remote sensing technology to develop regional forest cover maps and to monitor temporal changes in forest cover throughout Central America and the MBC, as well as facilitate data and technology transfer to Central American participants. This paper describes the data and methods used to develop preliminary estimates of forest cover and forest cover change over the 1990s from seven Landsat Thematic Mapper (TM) study sites across Central America, and in relation to the current and proposed protected areas of the MBC. Results of the analyses suggest that forest clearing rates had declined region-wide for the past decade, as compared to 1980s deforestation estimates from the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization's (FAO) survey. In addition, forest clearing in areas outside of the current and proposed protected zones was found to be substantially higher than the areas within the MBC.
Article
This paper summarises a diagnostic analysis of the illegal timber trade in Nicaragua and Honduras conducted by a team of local and international researchers during 2002.(1) Evidence of the scale and dynamics of illegal logging in both countries, as well as its economic, social, environment and governance impacts are presented. The paper describes how over-complex regulations and market competition from cheap illegal timber reduce the economic viability of operating legally. This particularly affects small-scale producer groups, leaving them vulnerable to economic capture by illegal timber traders. The paper calls for a combination of measures to reduce regulatory "barriers to legality", while tackling corruption and organised crime. Incentives for sustainable forest management, and regional coordination of forest law enforcement and governance in Central America, are also required.
Article
The analysis of satellite images shows an important reduction of forest cover in the Lagoon of Términos region in the State of Campeche (southeastern Mexico) over the last decades. Deforestation rates reached 2.2 and 5.3%, respectively, on a yearly basis during 1974–1986 and 1986–1991. The deforestation process was modelled using a geographic information system. The model allows to determine how elements such as roads or human settlements proximity, land tenure, shape of the forest patches, slope, soil type, and human population attributes have an impact on the deforestation process. Deforestation was more severe in opened, nonflooded areas, with fertile soil, near roads and human settlements. Human population attributes showed little influence on deforestation rates, probably because pasture lands encroachment was recognized as the main cause of forest clearing. However, the model does not highlight the root causes of this phenomena, such as government policy on settlement and subsidies for cattle ranchi...
Article
In this new analysis of Honduran social and political development, Dar degreeso Euraque explains why Honduras escaped the pattern of revolution and civil wars suffered by its neighbors Guatemala, El Salvador, and Nicaragua. Within this comparative framework, he challenges the traditional Banana Republic 'theory' and its assumption that multinational corporations completely controlled state formation in Central America. Instead, he demonstrates how local society in Honduras's North Coast banana-exporting region influenced national political development. According to Euraque, the reformism of the 1970s, which prevented social and political polarization in the 1980s, originated in the local politics of San Pedro Sula and other cities along the North Coast. Moreover, Euraque shows that by the 1960s, the banana-growing areas had become bastions of liberalism, led by local capitalists and organized workers. This regional political culture directly influenced events at the national level, argues Euraque. Specifically, the military coup of 1972 drew its ideology and civilian leaders from the North Coast, and as a result, the new regime was able to successfully channel popular unrest into state-sponsored reform projects. Based on long-ignored sources in Honduran and American archives and on interviews, the book signals a major reinterpretation of modern Honduran history.
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Narratives of environmental change can overwhelm analysis and interpretation. "Deforestation," for example, usually communicates a unilinear process of agricultural expansion and biomass mining. Using participant observation, aerial photographs, and forest inventories, this article analyzes the social context of forest change in two neighboring indigenous communities in the Lake Patzcuaro Basin, central western Mexico. Deforestation statistics and drastic deficits between fuel wood demand and growth rates suggest severe environmental degradation in this region and in these communities, but case study results show an increase in tree cover and unexpected changes to forest composition. These are related to agricultural abandonment and the ecological effect of selective woodcutting.
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Geographers interested in vegetation change increasingly focus on forest transitions. Several studies have documented an increase in forest cover in tropical America. This paper examines the nature of land cover change between 1954 and 1992 in a mountainous region of western Honduras. Analysis of aerial photographs indicates that tree cover increased by 17% around the town of Marcala. The accuracy of the aerial photograph analysis was assessed by field reconnaissance in 2004, which suggested that the increase in trees consisted largely of shade coffee fincas. More than 80% of the 46 field sites visited in this study experienced an increase in tree cover, which consisted of pine forest and several types of shaded tree canopies for the growth of coffee.
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We analyzed forest clearing and regrowth over a 23-year timeperiodfor 21 forest concession and management units within the Maya Biosphere Reserve(MBR), Guatemala. The study area as a whole experienced a clearing rate of0.16%/year from 1974 through 1997. The overall clearing rate appearsrather low when averaged over the entire study area over 23 years because mostof the reserve was inaccessible. However, despite the granting of legalprotection to the MBR in 1990, clearing rates continued to rise, with thehighest rates occurring in the most recent time period in the analysis, 1995 to1997. Higher rates of clearing relative to regrowth occurred in newlyestablished communities and in the Reserve’s buffer zone, where the clearing ofhigh forest was preferred for pasture development. Exploratory models werebuiltand analyzed to examine the effects of various landscape variables on forestclearing. The different units in the analysis showed different relationships offorest clearing with variables such as forest cover type and distance to access(roads and river corridors). Where available, socio-economic householdsurvey data helped to explain patterns and trends observed in thetime series Landsat imagery. A strong relationship between forestclearing and distance to access was demonstrated. More clearing occurredfurtherfrom roads during later time periods as farmers moved deeper into the forest tofind land to clear. Communities inside the MBR that were less dependent onfarming had forest clearing to regrowth ratios of one:one or less. Thesecommunities used fallow fields in greater proportions than communities in theReserve’s buffer zone. General trends in clearing by forest cover type suggestapreference for clearing high forest (bosque alto) typesfound on the higher elevation, better-drained soils, and fallow fields,and an avoidance of low-lying, seasonally flooded terrain(bajos). Satellite remote sensing observations of forestclearing and regrowth patterns can provide an objective source of informationtocomplement socio-economic studies of the human driving forces in landcover and land use change.