Understanding the relationships of urban sprawl and forest cover change: A case study from the Mesoamerican Biological Corridor, Quintana Roo, Mexico

Authors: Alana Rader*, Rutgers University, Laura Schneider, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
Topics: Land Use and Land Cover Change, Remote Sensing, Biogeography
Keywords: Land Change Science, Second Growth, Tropical Forests, Biogeography, Remote Sensing
Session Type: Poster
Day: 4/5/2019
Start / End Time: 3:05 PM / 4:45 PM
Room: Lincoln 2, Marriott, Exhibition Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Patterns of forest cover change in the Mesoamerican Biological Corridor (MBC), Quintana Roo, Mexico, are driven by the complex dynamics of conservation, tourism, and subsistence agriculture. Forest use continues to be common throughout the MBC, although recent observations suggest the potential for a new wave of forest transformation, characterized by areal expansion of cultivated areas through land consolidation. Simultaneously, the touristic areas of Quintana Roo have been expanded, specifically urban centers of Playa del Carmen and Cancun. Research across Latin America suggest that rural-urban migration and urban development can alter patterns of land-use through both land abandonment and consolidation. As such, spatially explicit research of varying land uses and resulting patterns of land cover change are critical at regional scales. Following a telecoupling framework, this study will explore the relationship of urban sprawl in Playa del Carmen to forest cover change in the MBC in Quintana Roo, using time-series analysis of remotely sensed imagery to detect changing patterns of both urban and forest land covers. Building on previous research on telecoupling, land use, and forest transitions in Latin America, we hypothesize that an increase in urban expansion in touristic areas of QR is occurring simultaneously with decrease in shifting cultivation and increase in large scale agriculture in the MBC. Results from this study will offer insight on the complex dynamics of forest transformation in the MBC, beyond local land use decisions, contributing a more thorough understanding of the drivers of forest transformation into the future.

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