Land Use Change Patterns of Colonists and Indigenous Groups in the Northern Ecuadorian Amazon: A Comparison of Landsat TM Spectral and Spatial Analyses
A Landsat Thematic Mapper (TM) time-series, composed of images for 1996, 1999, and 2002, is used tomonitor the patterns of land use change within the northern Ecuadorian Amazon for areas primarily influenced byspontaneous colonists and indigenous groups who deforested lands for agriculture extensification and the cultivationof commercial and/or subsistence crops. Pair-wise analyses of land use/land cover (LULC) change in 1996-1999,1999-2002, and 1996-2002 are computed using a post-classification (i.e., from-to changes) change detection as wellas changes in the fractional cover of LULC for two selected colonist sites and two indigenous communities. Inaddition to LULC change for the colonist and indigenous areas, the spatial organization or spatial structure of LULCchange for the three image periods are derived using ecological pattern metrics. Results suggest that the postclassification change detection effectively describes the state and direction of LULC change across the image timeseries, whereas fractional cover describes the condition of LULC change between the change periods. Used here as separate approaches for landscape characterization, post-classification and fractional cover are best used in concertwith each other as together they indicate a richer description of the type of LULC change occurring between imagedates and the landscape conditions associated with those changes. Differences in the composition and spatialstructure of LULC change exist between colonist and indigenous sites. Geographic accessibility and the degree ofcultural assimilation of indigenous communities by colonists translate to a similar land use pattern that is describedthough comparable composition and pattern metric descriptors.