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Tracking the Fate of Deforested Land in the Tropics: Critical New Inputs for Ecosystem Service Evaluation

Holly Gibbs, University of Wisconsin, (Presenting)
Jonathan Foley, University of Wisconsin,
Navin Ramankutty, McGill University,

Tracking the fate of cleared land in the tropics is critical to reducing the uncertainty in estimates of deforestation rates and to fully evaluating ecosystem services such as carbon storage, biodiversity, and disease regulation. Land use following deforestation is highly dynamic and often rapidly cycles between classes following deforestation, allowing secondary forests to regrow for varying periods of time. We have tracked the changing fate of deforested land across the tropics using ~600 manually-classified Landsat scenes from the FAO and TREES projects. The land use following deforestation varies across the seven major tropical regions and through time. We have identified statistically significant changes in the fate of deforested land between the 1980s and 1990s. Preliminary analysis indicates patterns of agricultural intensification in South America are reducing forest regrowth and fallow while simultaneously increasing the amount of mature forest cleared for permanent agriculture.

Science Theme:  LC (Land Use and Land Cover Change)

Session:  2B: The Changing Amazon Landscape

Presentation Type:  Oral

Abstract ID: 50

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