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April 2002 Issue
The Geographical Review
April 2002, Vol. 92 (2), pp. 235-256
One Last Stand? Forests and Change on Ecuador's Eastern Cordillera
Brad D. Jokisch and Bridget M. Lair
Keywords: Andes Mountains, Ecuador,
land-use-land-cover change, migration, tropical montane forests.
Tropical montane forests are known for their ecological importance. Most montane forests in Ecuador have been converted to agriculture, and those that remain are concentrated on the eastern cordillera. Understanding of land-use-land-cover change in this ecological zone is inadequate. Using remote sensing (Landsat TM, SPOT) and fieldwork, we document land-use-land-cover change in two watersheds on Ecuador's eastern cordillera (Caņar Province). During the 1990s the region experienced a 0.58 percent annual rate of deforestation, but two areas within it show active signs of re/afforestation. Although conversion of forest to pasture for cattle grazing continues, human migration to the United States is likely to affect the trajectory of future land-use-land-cover change.