Landscapes, legibility, and conservation planning: multiple representations of forest use in Panama

J. Velásquez Runk, Gervacio Ortíz Negría, Leonardo Peña Conquista, Gelo Mejía Peña, Frecier Peña Cheucarama, Yani Cheucarama Chiripua
2009 Conservation Letters  
In recent years, conservationists have increasingly used satellite imagery based analyses for planning. We used forest plots and satellite image analysis to study the same landscape of forests used and managed by Wounaan indigenous peoples in eastern Panama. We studied 20-, 10-, and 1-year-old rice swiddens, single tree extraction sites for dugouts, and homegardens in comparison with multi-use mature forests to examine whether Wounaan forest use histories could be distinguished by vegetation
more » ... ed by vegetation patterns and Landsat satellite imagery. We found that forest use histories were discriminated by vegetation structure and floristics, but these uses were largely obscured in satellite images. We discuss how conservation planning is impacted by these different methods, particularly how the perceived objectivity of satellite imagery may be used to dichotomize culture and nature. We conclude by encouraging the critical use of satellite imagery in conservation by using mixed methods at multiple temporal and spatial scales.
doi:10.1111/j.1755-263x.2009.00093.x fatcat:64eezs3snnbvflhq43lpipvx6u