Land Use Change and Trends

Using Lightweight Unmanned Aerial Vehicles to Monitor Tropical Forest Recovery

Background

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Enjeux fonciers, exploitation des ressources naturelles et Forêts des Communautés Locales en périphérie de Kinshasa, RDC (Land Issues, Exploitation of Natural Resources, and Local Community Forests on the Outskirts of Kinshasa, DRC)

background

The authors discuss factors affecting peri-urban forests that surround Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo and identify mismanagement of forest resources by local authorities as well as the willingness of local communities to take part in forest management.

Open access copy available

The Political, Social, and Ecological Transformation of a Landscape

Background

In 1951 the Chinese Government issued the Decision on Cultivating Rubber Trees, which resulted in the establishment of large-scale rubber plantations in the tropical regions of China, including Xishuangbanna in southern Yunnan. These rubber plantations, worked by relocated Han Chinese, were a manifestation of state power on the landscape.

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Land Cover Change in Colombia: Surprising Forest Recovery Trends between 2001 and 2010

background

This study mapped annual land-use and land-cover from 2001 to 2010 in Colombia using MODIS (250 m) products coupled with reference data from high spatial resolution imagery (QuickBird) in Google Earth.

Research Goals & Methods

The authors evaluated land cover change at four spatial scales: country, biome, ecoregion, and municipality.

Open access copy available

Sixty-Seven Years of Land-Use Change in Southern Costa Rica

Background

Habitat loss and fragmentation of forests are among the biggest threats to biodiversity and associated ecosystem services in tropical landscapes. This paper uses the vicinity of the Las Cruces Biological Station in southern Costa Rica as a regional case study to comment on seven decades of land-use change in one of the most intensively studied sites in the Neotropics.

Open access copy available

Forest Cover and Deforestation Patterns in the Northern Andes (Lake Maracaibo Basin): A Synoptic Assessment using MODIS and Landsat Imagery

Background

South America has the highest deforestation rates in the tropics. Yet, the science is often questioned when determining these rates. For example, Venezuela, which has the second highest rate in the region, produces government reports on deforestation that are continually questioned by third parties. This paper stresses the need for more accurate and consistent data on forest cover and greenhouse gase emissions from deforestation. 

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Neotropical Secondary Forest Succession: Changes in Structural and Functional Characteristics

Background

This paper reiviews the main biotic and abiotic factors that influence patterns of secondary forest succession in the Neotropics after complete forest clearance due to human activities.

Research Goals & Methods

The authors look at patterns of species replacement and various processes that occur during succession and suggest that the sequence of processes may be predictable even if species composition is not.

Open access copy available

Ecosystem Restoration of Riparian Forests in Sao Paulo Project

Background

Since the 1970s, the Sao Paulo region of Brazil has experienced extensive expansion of the agro-industry, reducing native vegetation coverage, increasing strain on natural resources, and contributing to land degredation. The Ecosystem Restoration of Riparian Forests in Sao Paulo Project was created in 2005 and ran until 2011 to correct these trends.

Open access copy available

Overcoming Ecological Barriers to Tropical Lower Montane Forest Succession on Anthropogenic Grasslands: Synthesis and Future Prospects

Background

This review attempts to address the difficulty in restoring grasslands to secondary tropical forest through reforestation. Proposed strategies are discussed for future recruitment methods for woody vegetation.

Research Goals & Methods

This study examines work conducted in Knuckles Forest Reserve (KFR) in the lower montane tropical rainforest and grasslands of Sri Lanka.

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Microbiological Indicators of Soil Quality and Degradation Following Conversion of Native Forests to Continuous Croplands

Background

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