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    Author(s): E.H. Helmer
    Date: 2004
    Source: Landscape Ecology 19: 29–40,
    Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
    Station: International Institute of Tropical Forestry
    PDF: View PDF  (257 B)

    Description

    In the Caribbean island of Puerto Rico, rapid land-use changes over the past century have included recent landcover conversion to urban/built-up lands. Observations of this land development adjacent to reserves or replacing dense forest call into question how the changes relate to forests or reserved lands. Using existing maps, this study first summarizes island-wide land-cover change between 1977-78 and 1991-92. Then, using binomial logit modeling, it seeks evidence that simple forest cover attributes, reserve locations, or existing land cover influence land development locations. Finally, this study quantifies land development, reserve protection and forest cover by ecological zone. Results indicate that 1 pasture is more likely to undergo land development than shrubland plus forest with low canopy density, 2 forest condition and conservation status appear unimportant in that development locations neither distinguish between classes of forest canopy development nor relate to forest patch size or reserve proximity, and 3 most land development occurs in the least-protected ecological zones. Outside the boundaries of strictly protected forest and other reserves, accessibility, proximity to existing urban areas, and perhaps desirable natural settings, serve to increase land development. Over the coming century, opportunities to address ecological zone gaps in the island’s forest reserve system could be lost more rapidly in lowland ecological zones, which are relatively unprotected.

    Publication Notes

    • We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
    • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.

    Citation

    Helmer, E.H. 2004. Forest conservation and land development in Puerto Rico. Landscape Ecology 19: 29–40,

    Keywords

    Caribbean, Land-cover change, Land-use change, Urban growth, Spatial modeling, Tropical forest conservationt

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