Studentinformatie

MSc thesis subject: Land-use dynamics and ecosystem services in an agro-forest frontier in Mexico

In project you will focus on the La Sepultura region in Mexico, this is a highly dynamic agro-forest frontier area where smallholder farmers depend on agriculture, timber and NTFPs and live adjacent to the La Sepultura biosphere reserve. You will combine different sources of satellite imagery over time (Landsat, google earth) with field data on land uses and ecosystem services to respond to the following question: ‘How has land use changed in the past decades and what are the consequences for balancing agriculture and conservation in the La Sepultura region in Chiapas, Mexico?’

This MSc thesis is part of the FOREFRONT program which focuses on agro-forest frontier areas. Agro-forest frontiers are the particularly dynamic borders between forested and agricultural land. The program aims is to link the landscape-transforming strategies of the various actors with landscape changes and resulting ecosystem services. In this MSc thesis you will focus on the La Sepultura region in Mexico. Methods: classifying land uses in different time steps using Google Earth Engine, R, ArcGIS/ QGIS (this is designed as a desktop study although if there is keen interest it could be combined with fieldwork). (Spatial) statistics on trends over time in land uses and ecosystem services and evaluating trade-offs and synergies. Possibility of field visits for validation.

Keywords: Land-use change; land use classification; conservation; agriculture; trade-offs; smallholder farmers.

Objectives

  • Combine different sources of satellite imagery over time (Landsat, google earth) with field data on land uses and ecosystem services
  • Classifying land uses in different time steps using Google Earth Engine, R, ArcGIS/ QGIS

Literature

Theme(s): Integrated Land Monitoring, Empowering & engaging communities