Hotspots of deforestation related to pasture and/or cropland expansion result from a Livestock, Environment And Development
(LEAD) initiative's study based on a system based modelling of land use change over the 2000 - 2010 period.
The chosen modeling framework (Conversion of Land Use and its Effects - CLUE-s)incorporates a number of essential aspects
of the complexity of land use change, such as the interrelation of spatial and temporal dynamics, land use history and scale
dependence. The model was provided with up-to-date, continent wide, detailed information on present land use and its location
factors, selected on the basis of literature. Model inputs were reviewed by experts from the region and preliminary results
In tropical Latin America, i.e. one of the regions with the highest deforestation rates, land used for extensive grazing
has increased continuously over the past decades and most of this increase has been at the expense of forests. It is regularly
reported that the process persists, although in many cases local governments have stopped enforcing policies that used
to foster the conversion of forest to agricultural land. Today, market forces, poverty and inadequate land tenure drive
the process of agricultural expansion.
It is imperative to find alternatives to extensive livestock production in tropical Latin America which, while being financially
and socially viable, will reduce environmental impacts and even contribute to restoring natural habitats. A prerequisite
is to gain insight in the location of the processes of agricultural (i.e. pasture) expansion and deforestation.
This first ever continent wide change map shall help to target policy measures. It also provides a context to the numerous
undergoing deforestation case studies. Finally, it is proposed that the study?s results be considered in the priority setting
of future research on the causes of deforestation.
The model results are spatially synthesized into hotspots of deforestation and important diffuse deforestation areas:
- Hotspots: areas within a 10 km radius that are dominated by forest (>50%) and 25% or more of which will be replaced by
pasture or crop by the end of the ten year simulation period.
- Diffuse deforestation areas: areas that within a 50 km radius are covered by at least 10% forest more than 10% of which
will be replaced by pasture or crop by the end of the ten year simulation period, without considering deforestation located
Results are vectorized and provided as ArcView shape files.