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Remote sensing indicators to monitor forest degradation trough time in the Brazilian Amazon

Tritsch I., Blanc L., Gond V., Bourgoin C., Cornu G., Sist P.. 2016. In : Plinio Sist (ed.), Stéphanie Carrière (ed.), Pia Parolin (ed.), Pierre-Michel Forget (ed.). Tropical ecology and society reconciliating conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity. Program and abstracts. Storrs : ATBC, p. 327. Annual Meeting of the Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation (ATBC 2016), 2016-06-19/2016-06-23, Montpellier (France).

Recently, several remote sensing methods have been developed to quantify the degradation of tropical forests. However, it still lacks finest spatial and temporal analysis to define trajectories of forest degradation i.e. a temporal analysis of the impacts on forest integrity. This communication aims to explore this issue and proposes a set of operational indicators to monitor forest degradation, which can constitutes a decision tool to support forestry managers and policy makers. We studied the trajectories of forest degradation in the municipality of Paragominas ¿ PA in the eastern Brazilian Amazon between 1995 and 2009, with a focus on the forestry company Cikel (400 000 ha certified by FSC since 2001). First, we developed a semi-automatic remote sensing methodology to detect forest degradation using multi-temporal Landsat images (spatial resolution of 30m) covering the 1995-2009 period. This method included two steps: 1) Identification of logging tracks and log landings using an algorithm of Bourbier et al. (2013). This algorithm uses spectral indices and morphological filters to strengthen the spectral contrasts between bare soil and forest cover. 2) Identification of logging gaps - which are characterised by senescent vegetation due to trees fall - using a Spectral Mixture Analysis carried out in CLASlite (Asner et al., 2009) and a fraction index (Souza et al., 2013). So, we obtained annual maps identifying these three major impacts. Secondly, we calculated annual landscape metrics of forest degradation using the R package "SpatialEco". Then, we calculated indicators which synthetize information about logging impacts and logging frequencies over the period from these annual degradation metrics. Finally, we selected a set of 6 indicators and statistically analysed the trajectories of degradation occurring in Paragominas using ACP and CAH. Our results emphasize four major degradation trajectories from well managed forests to highly-logged forests. They clearly show a difference between legal and illegal logging in terms of forest degradation. Moreover, they indicate that impacts of FSC certification on forest degradation was positive. Degradation was statistically lower in the certified logged plots compared to the uncertified plots. These set of indicators are adequate to monitor forest degradation through space and provide guidance to policy-makers for a better management of forest resources. (Texte intégral)

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