Agriculture

The Forest Types and Ages Cleared for Land Development in Puerto Rico

Kennaway, Todd; Helmer, E. H. 2007. The Forest Types and Ages Cleared for Land Development in Puerto Rico.. GIScience & Remote Sensing, 44, No. 4, :356-382.

Abstract: 
On the Caribbean island of Puerto Rico, forest, urban/built-up, and pasture lands have replaced most formerly cultivated lands. The extent and age distribution of each forest type that undergoes land development, however, is unknown. This study assembles a time series of four land cover maps for Puerto Rico. The time series includes two digitized paper maps of land cover in 1951 and 1978 that are based on photo interpretation. The other two maps are of forest type and land cover and are based on decision tree classification of Landsat image mosaics dated 1991 and 2000. With the map time series we quantify land-cover changes from 1951 to 2000; map forest age classes in 1991 and 2000; and quantify the forest that undergoes land development (urban development or surface mining) from 1991 to 2000 by forest type and age. This step relies on intersecting a map of land development from 1991 to 2000 (from the same satellite imagery) with the forest age and type maps. Land cover changes from 1991 to 2000 that continue prior trends include urban expansion and transition of sugar cane, pineapple, and other lowland agriculture to pasture. Forest recovery continues, but it has slowed. Emergent and forested wetland area increased between 1977 and 2000. Sun coffee cultivation appears to have increased slightly. Most of the forests cleared for land development, 55%, were young (1–13 yr). Only 13% of the developed forest was older (41–55+ yr). However, older forest on rugged karst lands that long ago reforested is vulnerable to land development if it is close to an urban center and unprotected.

Hydrologic Modeling of Land Processes in Puerto Rico Using Remotely Sensed Data

Hydrologic Modeling of Land Processes in Puerto Rico Using Remotely Sensed Data
Cruise, J. F.; Miller, R. L.
Journal of the American Water Resources Association, vol. 30, Issue 3, p.419-428

Abstract: 
An integrated, multi-disciplinary effort to model land processes affecting Mayaguez Bay in western Puerto Rico is described. A modeling strategy was developed to take advantage of remotely sensed data. The spatial, interannual, and seasonal variability of sediment discharges to the bay were also evaluated. Classified images of remotely sensed data revealed the spatial distribution and quantities of land use classes in the region and aided in the discretization of the watershed into homogeneous regions. These regions were modeled using a geomorphic modeling technique based upon spatially averaged parameters. Simulation results from the modeling effort compared favorably with observations at two locations within the watershed. Results showed that runoff and sediment loads from the area exhibit a marked seasonal trend and that deforested areas located in the foothill regions of the watershed contribute a disproportionate share of the sediment load to the bay. In years when rainfall distributions are uniformly distributed over the area, the sediment yields may be up to 100 percent higher than years when the rainfall is concentrated in the heavily forested mountainous regions.
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