Title: Quantifying successional land cover after clearing of tropical rainforest along forest frontiers in the Congo Basin
Authors: Akkermans, Tom ×
Van Rompaey, Anton
Van Lipzig, Nicole
Moonen, Pieter
Verbist, Bruno #
Issue Date: 7-Nov-2013
Publisher: V.H. Winston
Series Title: Physical Geography vol:34 issue:6 pages:417-440
Abstract: State-of-the-art impact-modeling studies in environmental and climatological sciences
require detailed future deforestation scenarios that allow forest to be replaced by a
mosaic of multiple successional land-cover types, rather than the simple conversion
of forest to a single land-cover type, such as bare soil or cropland. Therefore, not
only the amount and location of forest removal has to be known (as is typically
provided by scenarios), but also knowledge about the successional land-cover types
and their relative areal proportions is needed. The main objective of this study was to
identify these successional land-cover types and quantify their areal proportions in
regions deforested during the past 37 years around the city of Kisangani, D.R.
Congo. The fallow vegetation continuum was categorized in different stages, adapted
from existing classifications. Ground-truth points describing the present-day vegetation
were obtained during a field campaign and used for supervised and validated
land-cover classification of these categories, using the Landsat image of 2012. Areal
proportions of successional land-cover types were then derived from the resulting
land-cover map. The second objective of this study was to relate these areal proportions
to time since deforestation, which is expected to influence fallow landscapes.
Landsat images of 1975, 1990, and 2001 were analyzed. Present-day mature tree
fallow is less abundant on areas deforested during 1975–1990. The relative areal
proportions were used to refine a deforestation scenario and apply it to existing
data-sets of LAI and canopy height (CH). Assuming a simple conversion of forest to
cropland, the deforestation scenario projected a reduction of grid-cell-averaged CH
from 25.5 to 7.5 m (within deforested cells), whereas the refined scenarios that we
propose show more subtle changes, with a reduced CH of 13 m. This illustrates the
importance of taking successional land cover correctly into account in environmental
and climatological modeling studies.
ISSN: 0272-3646
Publication status: published
KU Leuven publication type: IT
Appears in Collections:Division of Geography & Tourism
Division Forest, Nature and Landscape Research
× corresponding author
# (joint) last author

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