Land Use and Land Cover Change Dynamics across the Brazilian Amazon: Insights from Extensive Time-Series Analysis of Remote Sensing Data

João M. B. Carreiras, Joshua Jones, Richard M. Lucas, Cristina Gabriel, Bruno Hérault (Editor)

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Abstract

Throughout the Amazon region, the age of forests regenerating on previously deforested land is determined, in part, by the periods of active land use prior to abandonment and the frequency of reclearance of regrowth, both of which can be quantified by comparing time-series of Landsat sensor data. Using these time-series of near annual data from 1973–2011 for an area north of Manaus (in Amazonas state), from 1984–2010 for south of Santarém (Pará state) and 1984–2011 near Machadinho d’Oeste (Rondônia state), the changes in the area of primary forest, non-forest and secondary forest were documented from which the age of regenerating forests, periods of active land use and the frequency of forest reclearance were derived. At Manaus, and at the end of the time-series, over 50% of regenerating forests were older than 16 years, whilst at Santarém and Machadinho d’Oeste, 57% and 41% of forests respectively were aged 6–15 years, with the remainder being mostly younger forests. These differences were attributed to the time since deforestation commenced but also the greater frequencies of reclearance of forests at the latter two sites with short periods of use in the intervening periods. The majority of clearance for agriculture was also found outside of protected areas. The study suggested that a) the history of clearance and land use should be taken into account when protecting deforested land for the purpose of restoring both tree species diversity and biomass through natural regeneration and b) a greater proportion of the forested landscape should be placed under protection, including areas of regrowth.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere104144
JournalPLoS One
Volume9
Issue number8
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 06 Aug 2014

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