Vegetation change in Brazil's dryland ecoregions and the relationship to crop production and environmental factors: Cerrado, Caatinga, and Mato Grosso, 2001-2009

  • Redo D
  • Aide T
  • Clark M
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Abstract

South America’s drylands remain some of the most threatened ecosystems on the planet. Yet, we know very little about the dynamics of land-use and land-cover change (LUCC) in these understudied regions. Our objective is to map vegetation change in Brazil’s three largest dryland ecoregions – the Cerrado, Caatinga, and Mato Grosso seasonal forests – using MODIS (Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer) data from 2001 to 2009 at the scale of the municipality. We then assess the relationship between changes in land use and land cover and changes in crop and animal production and environmental factors using random forest regression. Although deforestation is still the dominant transition in Mato Grosso, portions of the Cerrado and Caatinga are experiencing a return of woody vegetation. Other agricultural production systems such as sugarcane also play a key role in vegetation change dynamics, besides soybean and cattle ranching. Municipalities with low standard deviations of temperature, high annual precip...

Author-supplied keywords

  • Brazil
  • ecoregion
  • land-use and land-cover change
  • random forest

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Authors

  • Daniel Redo

  • T. Mitchell Aide

  • Matthew L. Clark

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