El Salvador‰Ûªs Changing Landscape: Getting to the Ground Truth

EarthzineDEVELOP 2016 Spring VPS, DEVELOP Virtual Poster Session, Mapping Landscape Changes and Species Distribution, Original

Category: Mapping Landscape Changes and Species Distribution

Project Team: El Salvador Ecological Forecasting II

Team Location: NASA Langley Research Center ‰ÛÒ Hampton, Virginia

Results of a random forest classification for the 1996 and 2015 dry seasons; a LULC map with four classes: Water, Rural Non-Forest, Forest, and Urban. Image Credit: El Salvador Ecological Forecasting II Team

Results of a random forest classification for the 1996 and 2015 dry seasons; a LULC map with four classes: Water, Rural Non-Forest, Forest, and Urban. Image Credit: El Salvador Ecological Forecasting II Team

Authors:

Britta Dosch

Garrett Kidd

Labreshia Mims

Rebekke Muench

Jacob Patrick

Amy Wolfe

Mentors/Advisors:

Dr. Kenton Ross (NASA Langley Research Center)

Past/Other Contributors:

Emily Adams (Center Lead)

Courtney Duquette

Clarence Kimbrell

Susannah Miller

Jordan Ped

Stephen Zimmerman

Abstract:

Tropical forests are vital ecosystems because of their rich biodiversity and carbon sequestration abilities. Unfortunately, due to a number of factors, these forests are threatened by deforestation and forest degradation and are in need of comprehensive management strategies. The conservation of forests is not only vital for biodiversity but also for the ecosystem services they provide. The micro-region of La Mancomunidad La Monta̱ona in Chalatenango, El Salvador, is a hilly area with a population dependent upon subsistence and livestock farming, often utilizing slash and burn agricultural techniques. Using NASA Earth observations in collaboration with El Salvador‰Ûªs ministry of the environment, Ministerio de Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales (MARN), the Earth Institute at Columbia University, and Agroforestry for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (ABES) Project, a methodology was developed for stakeholders and policymakers to monitor long-term changes in forest cover and predict significant changes in woody forest biomass. A baseline time series showing forest cover and land use/land cover (LULC) from December 1986 to January 2016 was used to forecast forest cover change through the year 2030. These predictions will allow stakeholders to identify at-risk regions to focus forest conservation efforts and management strategies.

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