Remote sensing of deforestation along the Trans-Amazonian Highway

University essay from Lunds universitet/Institutionen för naturgeografi och ekosystemvetenskap

Abstract: Deforestation is one of the biggest environmental challenges today. Especially severe has the deforestation of the Amazon rainforest been where at least 20% has been cleared the last 40 years. A time series analysis of deforestation rates between 1984 and 2013 has been performed on several sites close to the Trans-Amazonian highway BR230 in the Amazon and Para states. This is done by applying a supervised classification method to Landsat scenes to classify rainforest and deforested areas. It is concluded that annual deforestation rates often has been higher at the study sites than the general trend of deforestation for the Amazon in the past. In recent years deforestation often show to be lower than the trend for Amazonas. Reasons for the high rates in the beginning of the series could be closeness to towns, which makes it easier for deforestation and increases the export potential. Rates being lower in recent years are strongly related to the global economy but could also be a consequence of political governance due to increased awareness of the effects of deforestation, creation of protective areas and monitoring of illegal deforestation together with law enforcement.

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