Estimates of selective logging impacts in tropical forest canopy cover using RapidEye imagery and field data

Publication Type:
Journal Article
IForest, 2016, 9 (JUNE2016), pp. 461 - 468
Issue Date:
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© SISEF. Selective logging is one of the leading causes of forest degradation in the Brazilian Amazon region. The Brazilian Federal government has adopted a forest concession policy as a strategy to mitigate impacts of selective logging and regulate operations of the tropical timber industry in Brazil. This study used fractional forest coverage derived from satellite imagery and field data to assess forest degradation in two selectively logged study sites within the Jamari National Forest, a protected area located in the western Brazilian state of Rondônia. Initially, we estimated the fractional coverage from vegetation indices using RapidEye imagery and compared to gap fraction data derived from hemispherical photos acquired in the field. Subsequently, we estimated the impacts of different types of selective logging activities (log decks, primary and secondary roads, tree fall gaps, and skid trails) on forest cover using the fractional coverage dataset. The NDVI showed the highest R2 (0.56), indicating that 56% of the sample variation in fractional coverage derived from ground measurements can be explained by fractional coverage derived from the NDVI model. Our results also showed that the intensity of canopy impacts may vary according to the selective logging activity, ranging from skid trails to log decks which had the lightest and the heaviest canopy impacts, respectively.
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