Modeling Spatially and Temporally Complex Land-Cover Change: The Case of Western Honduras
This article presents an econometric analysis of land-cover change in western Honduras. Ground-truthed satellite image analysis indicates that between 1987 and 1996 net reforestation occurred in the 1,015-km2 study region. While some reforestation can be attributed to a 1987 ban on logging, the area of reforestation greatly exceeds that of previously clear-cut areas. Further, new area was also deforested between 1987 and 1996. Thus, the observed land-cover changes represent a complex mosaic of changing land-use patterns across time and space. The analysis contributes to the literature on land-cover change modeling in that: (1) it compares two econometric approaches to capture complex and often bidirectional changes in land cover from 1987 to 1996 as a function of agricultural suitability and transportation costs, and (2) it addresses techniques to identify and correct for spatial autocorrelation in a categorical regression framework.
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