Land cover change in tropical agroecosystems: Caribbean Region, Colombia.

Authors: Victoria Sarmiento*, Temple University, Victor Gutierrez-Velez, Temple University
Topics: Land Use and Land Cover Change, Remote Sensing, Latin America
Keywords: Land Cover Change, remote sensing, agroecosystems, Colombia, Landsat
Session Type: Virtual Paper
Day: 4/11/2021
Start / End Time: 9:35 AM / 10:50 AM
Room: Virtual 36
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Permanent crops such as oil palm have been widely recognized as a significant cause of deforestation and natural land cover change worldwide (Fitzherbert et al., 2008; Furumo & Aide, 2017; Gutiérrez-Vélez et al., 2011). This is the case in the Maria la Baja region in Colombia. A region that is known as an important national food basket. It has a long history of violence and environmental degradation resulting from more than 60 years of armed conflict (Ojeda & González 2018). After peace agreements with various armed groups, the area has become a strategic space for a socio-ecological transition towards agricultural expansion. Transforming natural dry forests and wetlands considered some of the most threatened ecosystems nationally and globally (Pizano & García, 2014; Ricaurte et al., 2017). The purpose of this paper is to identify the transformation of natural ecosystems between 2010 and 2020 with emphasis on the conversion to oil palm and other commodity crops. The method includes a remote sensing analysis using both active and optical satellite data. Preliminary results show that land covers related to agricultural use account for 30.7% of the total area (4621.3 km2). The area converted to oil palm plantation constitutes about 21.3 % of the total of cultivated area. The overall accuracy achieved is 0.71. Additionally, we observe oil palm plantations clustered around wetlands and other water bodies. We conclude the region is considerably transformed, and oil palm is playing an important role.

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