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Remote Sensing and GIS Approaches to Socio-Environmental Research in Latin America

Type: Paper
Sponsor Groups: Remote Sensing Specialty Group
Poster #:
Day: 4/7/2020
Start / End Time: 11:50 AM / 1:05 PM (MDT)
Room: Virtual Track 8
Organizers: Santiago Lopez
Chairs: Santiago Lopez


Latin American landscapes are diverse, complex, and currently undergoing significant transformations with implications for the sustainability of human-environmental systems in the region. From the coastal environments of the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans to the tropical forests of the Amazon River basin, to the ice-covered peaks of the Andes, socio-ecological systems are currently threatened by extractive industries (Bebbington et al. 2018), forest cover reduction and substitution (Manners and Varela-Ortega, 2017), and land degradation (Metternicht et al. 2009). Studies grounded on Geographic Information Science (GISc) of such systems have been facilitated by the advancement of remote sensing, geographic information systems (GIS), and computer technologies to capture and process environmental data, and the incorporation of data collection methods that allow not only more accurate characterizations of the socio-ecological system under study but also more meaningful and nuanced ones (Schulze et al. 2017). These relative recent improvements have allowed a more effective integration of both human and physical systems at multiple spatio-temporal scales. At the core of this integration is the recognition that environmental change is a product of social, political, economic, cultural, and biophysical factors that affect human decision making in unique and intricate ways. The integration of remote sensing, GIS, and in-situ or field-based research on human-environmental systems opens up opportunities for advancing our understanding of the causes, consequences, and processes of environmental change.

We welcome papers from across Latin America to discuss recent research that could help define the state of knowledge on remote sensing research oriented towards the study and understanding of socio-ecological systems in this dynamic region. How are mixed-methods approaches using remote sensing and GIS uniquely facilitate a dialog between the physical and social sciences as conceived by researchers doing work in Latin America? How can multiple narratives be introduced to change the ways in which remote sensing and GIS are practiced in this region? Topics may include:

* Environmental change
* Natural resource management
* Human mobility
* Health and spatial epidemiology
* Environmental conservation
* Natural Hazards, prevention, and mitigation

Please send your interests, including paper title, PIN, and abstract to Santiago Lopez (University of Washington Bothell) at You will need to submit your abstract to the AAG by Wednesday, October 30th. AAG requires you to be a member and that you register for the 2020 conference.

Session Organizer: Santiago Lopez (University of Washington Bothell)

Works Cited:
Bebbington, A., Humphreys Bebbington, D., Sauls, L.A., Rogan, J., et al. 2018. Resource extraction and infrastructure threaten forest cover and community rights. PNAS 115(2): 13164-173.

Manners, R., and Varela-Ortega, C. 2017. Analyzing Latin American and Caribbean forest vulnerability from socio-economic factors. Journal of Integrative Environmental Sciences. 14(1): 109-30.

Matternicht, G., Zinck, J., Blanco, P.D., and Valle, H.F. 2009. Remote sensing of land degradation: Experiences from Latin America and the Caribbean. Journal of Environmental Quality 39(1): 42-61.

Schulze, J., Muller, B., Groeneveld, J., Grimm, V. 2017. Agent-based modelling of socio-ecoloigcal systems: Achievements, challenges, and a way forward. Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation 20(2): 8.


Type Details Minutes Start Time
Presenter Santiago Lopez*, University of Washington Bothell, Land use, land cover, and climate change dynamics in resilient socio-ecological systems in the equatorial Andes 15 11:50 AM
Presenter Matthew Marcus*, Temple University, Oil palm driven land use change in the Peruvian Amazon 15 12:05 PM
Presenter Nicholas Magliocca*, Department of Geography, Ariane de Bremond, Global Land Programme, Centre for Development and Environment (CDE), University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland, Evan Ellicott, Department of Geographical Sciences, University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland, USA, Kory Pilet, Department of Geography, University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL, USA, Large-scale land acquisitions and commodity frontier expansion in Argentina’s Dry Chaco 15 12:20 PM
Presenter Samuel Nickerson*, University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Gang Chen, University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Effects of Hydroelectric Dams on Tropical Forest Dynamics in the Brazilian Amazon 15 12:35 PM
Presenter Nicholas Kotlinski*, The Field Museum of Natural History, Designing conservation priority areas in Guyana 15 12:50 PM

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