Linking Remote Sensing, Census and Interview Data to Understand Forest Transitions in the Southern Cone of the State of Yucatán, México

Gibbes, Cerian


Article written by Allison Hopkins, 2008 DPDF Human Dimensions of Global Environmental Change Fellow Cerian Gibbes, Armando
Inurreta Díaz, and Rafael Rojas, featured in Ethnobotany Research and Applications, Volume 10:

Land use land cover change studies have traditionally focused
on deforestation processes and their associated
drivers, while ignoring or assuming that reforestation processes
were the reverse. However, recognition that regrowth
processes are equally as complex and important
as deforestation processes and play an important role in
the large scale functions of tropical forests has led to a
growing research interest in forest transitions. In this paper
we make a contribution to the understanding of the
complex dynamics involved in reforestation, by addressing
the question: What are the potential drivers of forest
transition in the municipalities of Tzucacab, Peto, and Oxkutzcab
in the state of Yucatán, México? Analysis of satellite
imagery from the region was used to highlight changes
in vegetation between the image dates of 1988, 1994,
and 2003. Government census data from 1980, 1990,
and 2000 were used to assess the population dynamics
and economic trends. In 2005 municipal officials and local
market venders were interviewed regarding local land
uses. The integration of the results from these analyses
suggest that the trend in deforestation between 1988 and
1994 followed by forest regrowth between 1994 and 2003
in all three municipalities can be associated with national
government policies, economic development and activities,
changes in the spatial hierarchy of the market system,
and out-migration.