Studentinformatie

Msc thesis subject: Using RS and GIS to describe vegetation changes over a period of 30 plus years on the island of Curacao

The Christoffelpark on Curacao is the area with the highest floristic and faunistic diversity of not only Curacao but also of all three ABC islands. The park was established in 1978 and is since managed by Carmabi Foundation (the official nature research and management organization of Curacao). In the late 1980s the management of the park started to reduce the number of wild goats that were roaming freely both inside and, in all areas bordering the park. At present hardly any goats are present and only a small number of wild donkeys are present in the higher parts of the southern section of the park.

There is quite an extensive literature describing the negative effects of free roaming exotic mammals on island ecosystems and vegetation regeneration as a result of the elimination of those grazers. Therefore, significant changes are expected to have taken in all vegetation types of the Christoffelpark. In 1987 Bokkestijn & Slijkhuis made a vegetation map of the Christoffelpark (scale 1:5000) using the relevé method of the ITC (Enschede, Netherlands). In 2018 three students of the University of Wageningen revisited 75 of the 208 sample plots of Bokkestijn & Slijkhuis (1987).

With the use of RS and GIS we expect to describe the changes in the vegetation that has taken place over the last 30 plus years in the Christoffelpark. If necessary, we will focus on a selection of vegetation types. The data set of the 75 sample plots revisited by the students in 2018 will be used in addition to additional data to be obtained through fieldwork in 2019. Two Carmabi biologists (Erik Houtepen & John de Freitas) will be directly involved in the project. For further information: j.defreitas@carmabi.org or e.houtepen@carmabi.org.

Objectives

  • Map vegetation changes in the Christoffelpark over the last 30+ years
  • Validation and interpretation of changes that have taken place.

Literature

Theme(s): Sensing & measuring, Integrated Land Monitoring