Landscape Dynamics on the Island of La Gonave, Haiti, 1990-2010
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The island of La Gonave lies northwest of Port-au-Prince and is representative of the subsistence Haitian lifestyle. Little is known about the land cover changes and conversion rates on La Gonave. Using Landsat images from 1990 to 2010, this research investigates landscape dynamics through image classification, change detection, and landscape pattern analysis. Five land cover classes were considered: Agriculture, Forest/Dense Vegetation (DV), Shrub, Barren/Eroded, and Nonforested Wetlands. Overall image classification accuracy was 87%. Results of land cover change analysis show that all major land cover types experienced substantial changes from 1990 to 2010. The area percent change was _39.7, _22.7, 87.4, and _7.0 for Agriculture, Forest/Dense Vegetation, Shrub, and Barren/Eroded. Landscape pattern analysis illustrated the encroachment of Shrub cover in core Forest/DV patches and the decline of Agricultural patch integrity. Agricultural abandonment, deforestation, and forest regrowth combined to generate a dynamic island landscape, resulting in higher levels of land cover fragmentation.