Preserving the commons: Landscape quantification in protected areas under dynamic management and extensive land use

Authors: Santiago Lopez*, University of Washington Bothell, Maria Fernanda Lopez, Facultad Latino Americana de Ciencias Sociales
Topics: Land Use and Land Cover Change, Landscape, Latin America
Keywords: landscape pattern, land cover, remote sensing, protected area, Ecuador
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/6/2019
Start / End Time: 5:00 PM / 6:40 PM
Room: Cleveland 2, Marriott, Mezzanine Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Recent literature shows that global conservation efforts are usually centered on protected areas (PAs) to preserve biological resources critical for the survival of human and non-human populations. However, little is known about landscape pattern and land use land cover (LULC) change trajectories in areas that experienced a transition from intense land use to community-based protection, under communal land management systems. In this study, we attempt to fill some of these gaps in research by focusing on landscape changes over time in an area in the Southern Ecuadorian Andes that experienced the formation and then size reduction of a community-based protected area between years 1989 and 2016. We derived information about land use and land cover changes from 30-m resolution satellite data and on the quantification of landscape pattern and LULC changes in three time periods: 1989-2001, 2001-2013, and 2013-2016. We quantified landscape changes at three different spatial scales by means of qualitative and quantitative methods. Results showed that human-induced disturbances, such as fires and land cover removal for pastures and agriculture, caused a decline of the extent of main land cover types and percent land cover in addition to increased land cover fragmentation between 1989 and 2001 (i.e., the pre-establishment control period). The reserve creation reduce forest and grassland clearing rates, increasing the percent of natural and semi-natural land cover types, and lowering habitat fragmentation until its downsizing in 2012.

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