This study uses a combination of satellite imagery and GIS data, a vegetation map, interview data, and on-site field studies to map detailed natural vegetation to land-use conversion pathways (~22,000 possible combinations) in the seasonal tropics of Santa Cruz Department in southeastern Bolivia from 1994 to 2008. We mapped a suite of land-use classes based on the seasonal phenology of double- and single season cropping regimes; pasture; and bare soil cropland (fallow). Analyses focus specifically on the Corredor Bioceánico, which bisects some of the most sensitive and poorly understood ecosystems in the world and indirectly creating one of the most important agricultural region-deforestation hotspots in South America at the present time. Training data to predict class membership were based on MODIS NDVI annual mean, maximum, minimum, and amplitude derived from field observations, semi-structured interviews, and aerial videography. Results show that over 8,000km2 of forest was lost during the 14-year study period. In the first years of cultivation, pasture is the dominant land use, but quickly gives way to cropland. The main findings according to forest type is that transitional forest types on deep and poorly drained soils of alluvial plains have lost the most in terms of percentage area cleared. The resulting transition pathways can potentially provide decision-makers with more detailed insight as to the proximate causes or driving forces of land change in addition to the most threatened forests remaining in the Tierras Bajas and those most likely to be cleared in the Brazilian Shield and Pantanal.
- Decision trees
- Land-use and land-cover change