Environmental Management

, Volume 34, Issue 6, pp 768–785

Land-Use Systems and Resilience of Tropical Rain Forests in the Tehuantepec Isthmus, Mexico

  • Arturo GarcÍa-Romero
  • Oralia Oropeza-Orozco
  • Leopoldo Galicia-Sarmiento
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DOI: 10.1007/s00267-004-0178-z

Cite this article as:
GarcÍa-Romero, A., Oropeza-Orozco, O. & Galicia-Sarmiento, L. Environmental Management (2004) 34: 768. doi:10.1007/s00267-004-0178-z
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Abstract

Land-cover types were analyzed for 1970, 1990 and 2000 as the bases for determining land-use systems and their influence on the resilience of tropical rain forests in the Tehuantepec Isthmus, Mexico. Deforestation (DR) and mean annual transformation rates were calculated from land-cover change data; thus, the classification of land-use change processes was determined according to their impact on resilience: a) Modification, including land-cover conservation and intensification, and b) Conversion, including disturbance and regeneration processes. Regeneration processes, from secondary vegetation under extensive use, cultivated vegetation under intensive use, and cultivated or induced vegetation under extensive use to mature or secondary vegetation, have high resilience capacity. In contrast, cattle-raising is characterized by rapid expansion, long-lasting change, and intense damages; thus, recent disturbance processes, which include the conversion to cattle-raising, provoke the downfall of the traditional agricultural system, and nullify the capacity of resilience of tropical rain forest. The land-use cover change processes reveal a) the existence of four land-use systems (forestry, extensive agriculture, extensive cattle-raising, and intensive uses) and b) a trend towards the replacement of agricultural and forestry systems by extensive cattle-raising, which was consolidated during 1990–2000 (DR of evergreen tropical rain forest = 4.6%). Only the forestry system, which is not subject to deforestation, but is affected by factors such as selective timber, extraction, firewood collection, grazing, or human-induced fire, is considered to have high resilience (2 years), compared to agriculture (2–10 years) or cattle-raising (nonresilient). It is concluded that the analysis of land-use systems is essential for understanding the implications of land-use cover dynamics on forest recovery and land degradation in tropical rain forests.

Keywords

Land-use cover changeDeforestationResilienceTropical rain forestTehuantepec Isthmus

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Arturo GarcÍa-Romero
    • 1
  • Oralia Oropeza-Orozco
    • 1
  • Leopoldo Galicia-Sarmiento
    • 1
  1. 1.Departamento de Geografía FísicaInstituto de Geografía, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de MéxicoCoyoacánMéxico