Wetenschap - 1 januari 1970

Spatial model maps land changes

Spatial model maps land changes

Spatial model maps land changes

Most research on land use in the tropics starts by determining the level at which the research will take place. Agronomist Free de Koning, who received his PhD last Friday April 16, made the level at which research and policy are formed the central theme in his research. Conducting a multi-scale system analysis, he demonstrated that land use in Ecuador is scale-dependent. Factors that best describe land use developments at national level, such as demand for food or policy measures, are not necessarily appropriate to land use at the local level. Here, other factors are more important, such as soil conditions

De Koning also attempted to explain the relationship between the different levels by developing a spatially explicit model of land use change. Using existing agricultural and census statistics already available in Ecuador, he constructed a geographical grid, covering the whole country with cells approximately 9 x 9 km. Biogeophysical, socio-economic and infrastructural data were then entered for each of these units. The cells were then aggregated at six different levels in order to analyze spatial scale dependence of land use structure. The results indicated potential hot spots, areas where the natural resource base and agricultural production are likely to be threatened by future changes in land use. The model can indicate areas in need of further specific research. Applying the model in these sensitive areas should back up the debate between the representatives of the various levels, by making interests and also the consequences of different policies explicit, as well as by identifying and quantifying land use problems

De Koning's research show that it is possible to make a land use analysis of a whole country which integrates different levels of aggregation in a coherent model. He has also shown that the data required are increasingly easy to come by and increasingly easy to analyze due to software developments. J.T

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