Linking Remote Sensing, Census and Interview Data to Understand Forest Transitions in the Southern Cone of the State of Yucatán, México
Keywords:Globalization, Forest recovery, Tropical dry forests, Peasant economies, Forest transition
Land use land cover change studies have traditionally focused on deforestation processes and their associated drivers, while ignoring or assuming that reforestation processes were the reverse. However, recognition that regrowth processes are equally as complex and important as deforestation processes and play an important role in the large scale functions of tropical forests has led to a growing research interest in forest transitions. In this paper we make a contribution to the understanding of the complex dynamics involved in reforestation, by addressing the question: What are the potential drivers of forest transition in the municipalities of Tzucacab, Peto, and Oxkutzcab in the state of Yucatán, México? Analysis of satellite imagery from the region was used to highlight changes in vegetation between the image dates of 1988, 1994, and 2003. Government census data from 1980, 1990, and 2000 were used to assess the population dynamics and economic trends. In 2005 municipal officials and local market venders were interviewed regarding local land uses. The integration of the results from these analyses suggest that the trend in deforestation between 1988 and 1994 followed by forest regrowth between 1994 and 2003 in all three municipalities can be associated with national government policies, economic development and activities, changes in the spatial hierarchy of the market system, and out-migration.
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