Thirty years of land use change in the humid tropics of Costa Rica. Analysis of EARTH university using GIS and remote sensing data.
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The tropical humid lowlands in the Caribbean of Costa Rica are characterized by high anthropogenic transformation of a bio-diverse forest into commercial agriculture and cattle grazing. At EARTH university (Agriculture School of the Humid Tropic Region) a large scale adoption of sustainable agriculture has occurred since 1992 without precedent for this region. The changes introduced by a sustainable agriculture policy and natural resources management motivated my interest in study the spatio-temporal landscape transformation occurring since its status as grassland in the late 1960s. This study reconstructs the land use history of EARTH university property, from 1973 to 2001; produces land-cover maps based in the interpretation and classification of aerial photographs and satellite images; and create change-detection analyzes to identify and quantify areas under active process of transformation. The long term planning process of the property benefit from individual updated maps integrated to the land use map for the whole property as well as, from my assessment of performing agricultural decisions and practices in harmony with the natural ecosystem.
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