Evaluation of Deforestation in the Rio Platano Biosphere Reserve, Honduras Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/cv43p200s

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  • Satellite imagery has been a useful tool in monitoring land cover changes, including changes within protected areas. In the 1980’s and 1990’s Honduras created over 100 protected areas, yet few resources have been dedicated to their management. This study used Landsat satellite imagery to evaluate deforestation in the Río Plátano Biosphere Reserve in Honduras. The international community recognized the Río Plátano Biosphere Reserve for its ecological and cultural importance with its designation as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1982. The reserve was placed on the List of World Heritage in Danger in 1996, and the level of deforestation taking place in the reserve today is uncertain. Landsat TM and ETM+ imagery from 1985-1987 and 2001-2002 were used to conduct a change detection analysis based on an ISODATA unsupervised classification. Specific research objectives include identifying areas in the reserve most affected by deforestation, evaluating the difference between deforestation within the reserve boundaries with an area outside the boundaries, and comparing the levels of deforestation between the internal zones of the reserve. Analysis of the western boundary of the reserve indicated that the boundary was not effective in halting deforestation within the reserve, but may have been effective in slowing deforestation. Furthermore, results showed that deforestation has occurred in each of the three zones of the reserve. The nuclear zone experienced the least forest change, followed by the cultural zone, primarily inhabited by indigenous peoples, and the buffer zone, the site of mestizo colonization.
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