Combining remote sensing and household level data for regional scale analysis of land cover change in the Brazilian Amazon

L. de Souza Soler, P.H. Verburg

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    Abstract

    Land cover change in the Brazilian Amazon depends on the spatial variability of political, socioeconomic and biophysical factors, as well as on the land use history and its actors. A regional scale analysis was made in Rondônia State to identify possible differences in land cover change connected to spatial policies of land occupation, size and year of establishment of properties, accessibility measures and soil fertility. The analysis was made based on remote sensing data and household level data gathered with a questionnaire. Both types of analyses indicate that the highest level of total deforestation is found inside agrarian projects, especially in those established more than 20 years ago. Even though deforestation rates are similar inside and outside official settlements, inside agrarian projects forest depletion can exceed 50% at the property level within 10-14 years after establishment. The data indicate that both small-scale and medium to large-scale farmers contribute to deforestation processes in Rondônia State encouraged by spatial policies of land occupation, which provide better accessibility to forest fringes where soil fertility and forest resources are important determinants of location choice. © 2010 The Author(s).
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)371-386
    JournalRegional Environmental Change
    Volume10
    Issue number4
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2010

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