, Volume 38, Issue 2, pp 238-252
Date: 29 May 2006

Implications of Land Use/Land Cover Change in the Buffer Zone of a National Park in the Tropical Andes

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Abstract

The impacts of land use and land cover (LULC) change in buffer zones surrounding protected ecological reserves have important implications for the management and conservation of these protected areas. This study examines the spatial and temporal patterns of LULC change along the boundary of Rio Abiseo National Park in the Northern Peruvian Andes. Landscape change within four ecological zones was evaluated based on trends expected to occur between 1987 and 2001. Landsat TM and ETM imagery were used to produce LULC classification maps for both years using a hybrid supervised/unsupervised approach. LULC changes were measured using landscape metrics and from-to change maps created by post-classification change detection. Contrary to expectations, tropical upper wet montane forest increased despite being threatened by human-induced fires and cattle grazing of the highland grasslands inside the park. Within the park’s buffer zone, tropical moist forest remnants were fragmented into more numerous and smaller patches between 1987 and 2001; this was in part due to conversion into agricultural land. The methods used in this study provide an effective way to monitor LULC change detection and support the management of protected areas and their surrounding environments.