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Statistical models and spatial simulations of land cover/land use change in the Ecuadorian Amazon

Carlos F. Mena, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Stephen J. Walsh, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Investigations of land cover/land use (LCLU) change and forest management are limited by a lack of understanding of how socio-economic and demographic factors combine with geographical and biophysical factors in affecting LCLU patterns and change trajectories. The objectives of this paper are (a) to quantify deforestation and secondary forest succession in the Northern Ecuadorian Amazon, (b) to determine the significance and magnitude of the effects of socio-economic, demographic, geographic and biophysical factors on deforestation and secondary forest succession at the farm level, and (c) use spatially-explicit models (i.e., Cellular Automata) and significant demographic, socioeconomic and demographic variables to create future LCLU scenarios interpreted within a policy-relevant context. Socioeconomic and demographic survey data are used to describe the household characteristics of spontaneous colonists who have in-migrated into this frontier environment and remote sensing is used to acquire information on the spatial pattern of LCLU change.

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Presented in Session 72: Population and environment linkages in developing countries