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Spatial Simulation Modelling of Future Forest Cover Change Scenarios in Luangprabang Province, Lao PDR

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Author(s): Courage Kamusoko | Katsumata Oono | Akihiro Nakazawa | Yukio Wada | Ryuji Nakada | Takahiro Hosokawa | Shunsuke Tomimura | Toru Furuya | Akitaka Iwata | Hiromichi Moriike | Takashi Someya | Takashi Yamase | Mitsuru Nasu | Yoshitaka Gomi | Takio Sano | Takao Isobe | Khamma Homsysavath

Journal: Forests
ISSN 1999-4907

Volume: 2;
Issue: 3;
Start page: 707;
Date: 2011;
Original page

Keywords: forest cover changes | “weights of evidence” | Markov-cellular automata model | business-as-usual scenario | pessimistic scenario | optimistic scenario | reference scenarios | Lao PDR | REDD/REDD+

ABSTRACT
Taking Luangprabang province in Lao Peoples’s Democratic Republic (PDR) as an example, we simulated future forest cover changes under the business-as-usual (BAU), pessimistic and optimistic scenarios based on the Markov-cellular automata (MCA) model. We computed transition probabilities from satellite-derived forest cover maps (1993 and 2000) using the Markov chains, while the “weights of evidence” technique was used to generate transition potential maps. The initial forest cover map (1993), the transition potential maps and the 1993–2000 transition probabilities were used to calibrate the model. Forest cover simulations were then performed from 1993 to 2007 at an annual time-step. The simulated forest cover map for 2007 was compared to the observed (actual) forest cover map for 2007 in order to test the accuracy of the model. Following the successful calibration and validation, future forest cover changes were simulated up to 2014 under different scenarios. The MCA simulations under the BAU and pessimistic scenarios projected that current forest areas would decrease, whereas unstocked forest areas would increase in the future. Conversely, the optimistic scenario projected that current forest areas would increase in the future if strict forestry laws enforcing conservation in protected forest areas are implemented. The three simulation scenarios provide a very good case study for simulating future forest cover changes at the subnational level (Luangprabang province). Thus, the future simulated forest cover changes can possibly be used as a guideline to set reference scenarios as well as undertake REDD/REDD+ preparedness activities within the study area.
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