Continued Reforestation and Urban Expansion in the New Century of a Tropical Island in the Caribbean
AbstractAccurate and timely monitoring of tropical land cover/use (LCLU) changes is urgent due to the rapid deforestation/reforestation and its impact on global land-atmosphere interaction. However, persistent cloud cover in the tropics imposes the greatest challenge and retards LCLU mapping in mountainous areas such as the tropic island of Puerto Rico, where forest transition changed from deforestation to reforestation due to the economy shift from agriculture to industry and service after the 1940s. To improve the LCLU mapping in the tropics and to evaluate the trend of forest transition of Puerto Rico in the new century, we integrated the optical Landsat images with the L-band SAR to map LC in 2010 by taking advantage of the cloud-penetrating ability of the SAR signals. The results showed that the incorporation of SAR data with the Landsat data significantly, although not substantially, enhanced the accuracy of LCLU mapping of Puerto Rico, and the Kappa statistic reached 90.5% from 88.4% without SAR data. The enhancement of mapping by SAR is important for urban and forest, as well as locations with limited optical data caused by cloud cover. We found both forests and urban lands continued expanding in the new century despite the declining population. However, the forest cover change slowed down in 2000–2010 compared to that in 1991–2000. The deforestation rate reduced by 42.1% in 2000–2010, and the reforestation was mostly located in the east and southeast of the island where Hurricane Georges landed and caused severe vegetation damage in 1998. We also found that reforestation increased, but deforestation decreased along the topography slope. Reforestation was much higher within the protected area compared to that in the surroundings in the wet and moist forest zones. View Full-Text
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Wang, C.; Yu, M.; Gao, Q. Continued Reforestation and Urban Expansion in the New Century of a Tropical Island in the Caribbean. Remote Sens. 2017, 9, 731.
Wang C, Yu M, Gao Q. Continued Reforestation and Urban Expansion in the New Century of a Tropical Island in the Caribbean. Remote Sensing. 2017; 9(7):731.Chicago/Turabian Style
Wang, Chao; Yu, Mei; Gao, Qiong. 2017. "Continued Reforestation and Urban Expansion in the New Century of a Tropical Island in the Caribbean." Remote Sens. 9, no. 7: 731.
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