Deforestation and landscape structure changes related to socioeconomic dynamics and climate change in Zagros forests

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The Zagros region of western Iran has been affected by the recent changes both in amount and in structure of forest cover. We evaluated the influence of several driving forces on forest cover and structure, including socioeconomic (urban and rural population and rural income) and climatic (mean annual rainfall and mean annual temperature) variables. We acquired all time series Landsat images of a study site from 1972 to 2009. The images were classified to produce a land cover map of each year. We calculated landscape and patch metrics and identified independent sets of metrics to describe forest change. The most influential driving force for forest loss was urban population and climatic variables to some extent. These challenges should be addressed at broader scales than those associated with the livelihoods and traditional management of local communities. Rural population had a significant association with landscape structure which should be considered in designing restoration projects.

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© 2012 [Copyright Holder]. Publisher’s version of record: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/1747423X.2012.667451

Publication Title

Journal of Land Use Science