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Schmitt-Harsh's Study Analyzes Landscape Change in Guatemal

March 8, 2013

Mikaela Schmitt-Harsh, Robert A. Oden, Jr., Postdoctoral Fellow for Innovation in the Liberal Arts in Environmental Studies, has recently published an article titled, “Landscape change in Guatemala: Driving forces of forest and coffee agroforest expansion and contraction from 1990 to 2010,” in the Journal of Applied Geography. The research uses various models to examine land-use/cover change dynamics over two ten-year intervals in Guatemala. The article examines biophysical and accessibility factors in order to compare the landscape change of two prominent land-use systems in the region: natural forests and shade-grown coffee agroforests. The results demonstrate that land-use/cover change dynamics and drivers for the two land-use systems are complex over space and time. The research also highlights the importance of agroforests in promoting and maintaining tree cover in tropical areas threatened by deforestation and confirms that coffee agroforests, in particular, provide a number of ecosystem and livelihood services that parallel natural forests.

Written by Anna Versen '14