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    Author(s): Todd Kennaway; E. H. Helmer
    Date: 2007
    Source: GIScience & Remote Sensing, 44, No. 4, :356–382.
    Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
    Station: International Institute of Tropical Forestry
    PDF: View PDF  (2.11 B)

    Description

    On the Caribbean island of Puerto Rico, forest, urban/built-up, and pasture lands have replaced most formerly cultivated lands. The extent and age distribution of each forest type that undergoes land development, however, is unknown. This study assembles a time series of four land cover maps for Puerto Rico. The time series includes two digitized paper maps of land cover in 1951 and 1978 that are based on photo interpretation. The other two maps are of forest type and land cover and are based on decision tree classification of Landsat image mosaics dated 1991 and 2000. With the map time series we quantify land-cover changes from 1951 to 2000; map forest age classes in 1991 and 2000; and quantify the forest that undergoes land development (urban development or surface mining) from 1991 to 2000 by forest type and age. This step relies on intersecting a map of land development from 1991 to 2000 (from the same satellite imagery) with the forest age and type maps. Land cover changes from 1991 to 2000 that continue prior trends include urban expansion and transition of sugar cane, pineapple, and other lowland agriculture to pasture. Forest recovery continues, but it has slowed. Emergent and forested wetland area increased between 1977 and 2000. Sun coffee cultivation appears to have increased slightly. Most of the forests cleared for land development, 55%, were young (1–13 yr). Only 13% of the developed forest was older (41–55+ yr). However, older forest on rugged karst lands that long ago reforested is vulnerable to land development if it is close to an urban center and unprotected.

    Publication Notes

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    • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.

    Citation

    Kennaway, Todd; Helmer, E. H. 2007. The Forest Types and Ages Cleared for Land Development in Puerto Rico. GIScience & Remote Sensing, 44, No. 4, :356–382.

    Keywords

    Dramatic landscape changes, land development, topography, remoteness, property ownership, agriculture

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