Análisis del cambio de cobertura forestal 2005-2015 en Guanacaste, Costa Rica.
Tapia-Arenas, Claudia Andrea
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Costa Rica experienced a rapid deforestation between the decades of the 60`s and 70`s, however later drove a series of environmental management policies to reverse this destructive process. For this reason, Costa Rica has registered a significant forest cover recovery since the 80´s and today the Guanacaste Province is one of the most representative examples. The purpose of this study was to analyze the forest cover change in the Guanacaste Province and identify the most important factors influencing in the recovery and loss of forest cover, to provide elements for land use planning and management together with the conservation and management of natural resources. To achieve this objective, we analyzed Landsat 8 satellite imagery with Geographic Information Systems, in order to compare the dynamics of forest cover changes between the years 2005 and 2015. The results indicate that in 2005 the forest cover was equivalent to 51% of the area of the province, this coverage increased to 60% in 2015. The most important factors that seem to contribute to this continuous forest cover recovery are: a decreased of livestock, transformation of the economy towards the tertiary sector - specifically tourism, and a reduction of the pressure of forest for firewood and timber. We also found a loss of than 63,500 ha of forest cover, this land was transformed to pasture (84%) and crops (12%). The detected forest cover loss is presumably associated with frequent and intensive forest fires taking place in this Province. Other land uses identified for 2015 and its extension are: pasture 28% (279,738 ha), agriculture 5.5% (55 502 ha), bare soil 4.1% (41 514 ha), clouds and cloud shadows 0.8% (8612 ha), urban infrastructure 0.4% (3682 ha), water bodies 0.4% (4 566 ha) and other uses non classified 1.4% (14 324 ha)
Proyecto de Graduación (Licenciatura en Ingeniería Forestal) Instituto Tecnológico de Costa Rica, Escuela de Ingeniería Forestal, 2016.