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Land use/cover change in central Tibet, c. 1830–1990: devising a GIS methodology to study a historical Tibetan land decree

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In this study, historical Tibetan tax-related data pertaining to cultivated land in central Tibet are studied by means of GIS and compared with contemporary patterns. A Tibetan land decree from 1830 contains aggregated data on the amount of land-based tax units for estates in 57 districts of central Tibet. The purpose of this study is to devise a GIS methodology to study the potential utility of these data for historical geographical research, and to determine the approximate changes in cultivated land areas between 1830 and 1990. Traditional Tibetan tax data are significant for current efforts to construct historical land cover databases of the Tibetan Plateau region for the study of the human dimensions of global change.

Keywords: GIS; Tibet; agriculture; environmental history; land use/cover change

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Department of Geography, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN 55455, USA

Publication date: December 1, 2001


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