Latin American Network of monitoring and study of the natural resources

During the last 40 years, Latin America has been suffering a process of unprecedented environmental changes in history. Deforestation, fires, agricultural expansion, climate change and economic globalization are some of the main causes.

For study this global transformation, requires updated and accessible information to oversee the ecosystem state, which has been developing in different countries using different tools and methodologies.

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Mapping the burned areas in Latin America during 2004

The AQL2004 project received a monthly mapping of burned areas across the continent, from Mexico to Patagonia, using data from the MODIS sensor. The project is organized in three different stages: (a) to acquire and process the obtained data from the satellite; (b) the discrimination of pixels burned, and (c) the validation of results.

In the first phase, the input data included the MODIS 32-day 500-meter resolution generated by the GLFC the University of Maryland. The discrimination of burned areas was addressed in two stages: first the search for “similar pixels” and then the mapping phase. The validation phase was based on visual analysis of Landsat and CBERS images. The total burned surface throughout the year is estimated at 153,215 square kilometers.

CHUVIECO, E., OPAZO, S., SIONE, W., DEL VALLE, H., ANAYA, J., DI BELLA, C., CRUZ, I., MANZO, L., LÓPEZ, G., MARI, N., GONZÁLEZ-ALONSO, F., MORELLI, F., SETZER, A., CSISZAR, I., KANPANDEGI, J. A., BASTARRIKA, A., y LIBONATI , R.: Global Burned Land Estimation in Latin America using MODIS Composite Data, Ecological Applications, vol. 18(1), 2008, pp. 64?79.

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Land use change in the Rio de la Plata Basin: trends, drivers and impacts.

As the global demand for agricultural commodities grows, following the increasing number and per-capita consumption of humans, societies start to realize that the same land ecosystems that provide goods and income are often the source of vital services such as the provision of fresh water or the regulation of atmospheric gases and climate. How are these social signals changing land use patterns across the globe? What are the trade-offs and synergies between the production of commodities and the provision of ecosystem services? How can we optimize both? These questions pose urgent challenges and unique opportunities to global change scientists, particularly in a region like the Rio de la Plata Basin, where the largest and most productive agricultural systems of the continent are experiencing their fastest expansion in history. Our goals in this project are to A. Characterize patterns and drivers of land use change. B. Assess the consequences of land use change. C. Explore land use change feedbacks & plausible scenarios. D. Couple market and environmental interests for land use planning.

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