Deforestation and trends of change in protected areas of the Usumacinta River basin (2000–2018), Mexico and Guatemala

Gallardo-Cruz, J.A., Peralta-Carreta, C., Solórzano, J.V., Fernández-Montes de Oca, A.I., Nava, L.F. ORCID:, Kauffer, E., & Carabias, J. (2021). Deforestation and trends of change in protected areas of the Usumacinta River basin (2000–2018), Mexico and Guatemala. Regional Environmental Change 21 (4) e97. 10.1007/s10113-021-01833-8.

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Deforestation is one of the processes that most impact the functioning of terrestrial ecosystems. In Mexico and Guatemala, deforestation continues to increase at alarming rates, but there are still regions where extended areas of conserved vegetation persist, such as the Usumacinta River basin. Throughout history, various protected areas (PA) have been designated in this basin; however, anthropogenic activities put its natural heritage at risk. This research aimed to analyze the current status and process of forest cover loss in the region and compare it within and outside PA, as well as among different PA administrations. In 2000, 75% of the basin’s area was covered by some type of tree-dominated plant community. Over the following 18 years, this area was reduced by 27%. Most of this forest loss occurred in Guatemalan territory. Although the net forest loss was higher in unprotected areas than in protected areas in Guatemala, the opposite pattern was observed in terms of the annual rate of forest loss. In the case of Mexico, forest loss was higher in unprotected areas in terms of both net forest loss and annual rates. Additionally, in both countries, PA under the administration of municipal authorities showed the lowest forest loss rates. This study showed that deforestation is an ongoing process in the Usumacinta basin with a heterogeneous spatial distribution, where PA have had different capabilities in helping conserve its forest cover. This information will be essential for binational conservation strategies aimed at preserving forest connectivity in the region.

Item Type: Article
Research Programs: Biodiversity and Natural Resources (BNR)
Biodiversity and Natural Resources (BNR) > Water Security (WAT)
Depositing User: Luke Kirwan
Date Deposited: 19 Oct 2021 07:48
Last Modified: 19 Oct 2022 03:00

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