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Assessment of land use and land cover change in Tecolutla River Basin, Veracruz, Mexico; during the period 1994-2010

Ana Karen Osuna-Osuna, José De Jesús Díaz-Torres, José De Anda-Sánchez, Edgardo Villegas-García, Juan Gallardo-Valdez, Gustavo Davila-Vazquez


Studies related to changes in vegetation and land use cover have gained importance in environmental research, as they allow for the assessment of time-space trends in deforestation and environmental degradation processes, especially as caused by human activity. In this context, the main goal of this study was to evaluate the impact of human activity in the basin of the Tecolutla River, in Veracruz, Mexico during a 16-year period. Landsat satellite images were used for the years 1994 and 2010, distinguishing nine land use coverage classes: rainforest, forest, agricultural land, water, disturbed vegetation, urban settlements, grasslands, citrus crops and shrubs. Thematic maps were validated, yielding overall accuracies greater than 92% and Kappa coefficients of 0.89 and 0.91 for the 1994 and 2010 classifications, respectively. Analysis of the transition matrix revealed a trend of increasing areas related to human activity (agriculture and urban use) showing percentage changes of 28% and 67% within 16 years, respectively. Consequently, a decrease (-1.1% per year) in areas with natural cover, specifically forest and jungle, was observed. Similar findings were reported in works done at national and state levels, where the transition of natural cover by the increasing of anthropogenic activities has been proven. The results of this study are useful for future environmental development planning, land management planning and planning strategies for the conservation of the natural resources in the basin.


kappa coefficient; Landsat TM; loss of biodiversity; maximum likelihood classification; transition matrix

Revista Ambiente & Água. ISSN:1980-993X DOI:10.4136/1980-993X

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