, Volume 43, Issue 6, pp 779-790
Date: 29 Oct 2013

Evaluating the Impact of Distance Measures on Deforestation Simulations in the Fluvial Landscapes of Amazonia

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Land use and land cover change (LUCC) models frequently employ different accessibility measures as a proxy for human influence on land change processes. Here, we simulate deforestation in Peruvian Amazonia and evaluate different accessibility measures as LUCC model inputs. We demonstrate how the selection, and different combinations, of accessibility measures impact simulation results. Out of the individual measures, time distance to market center catches the essential aspects of accessibility in our study area. The most accurate simulation is achieved when time distance to market center is used in association with distance to transport network and additional landscape variables. Although traditional Euclidean measures result in clearly lower simulation accuracy when used separately, the combination of two complementary Euclidean measures enhances simulation accuracy significantly. Our results highlight the need for site and context sensitive selection of accessibility variables. More sophisticated accessibility measures can potentially improve LUCC models’ spatial accuracy, which often remains low.