Land use and land cover change in the Colombian Andes: Dynamics and future scenarios

Nelly Rodríguez Eraso, Dolors Armenteras-Pascual, Javier Retana Alumbreros

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

82 Citations (Scopus)


Land use and land cover changes (LUCC) are recognized as one of the most relevant drivers of biodiversity loss in ecosystems. Through the analysis of satellite images, this article quantifies the LUCC that occurred between 1985 and 2008 in the Colombian Andes. Four submodels of changes were analyzed: deforestation, crop intensification, conversion to pastures, and abandonment. We associated these changes with demographic, socioeconomic, and abiotic variables and to some attractors of landscape change, and finally we have considered three scenarios of change: reference, increase in pasture, and crop intensification. The dynamics of LUCC were dominated by systematic transitions between crops, pastures, and secondary vegetation. Of all the submodels, pasture conversion has an important contribution in terms of accuracy rate (84%), and the most relevant variables for explaining land cover changes in the region were elevation, soil type, and distance to roads, cities, and pastures. Our simulations suggest that the pasture conversion scenario would have the biggest impact in natural ecosystems and could cause the loss of 28-30% of the cover area by 2050. The results indicate some that these hotspots of change are currently still under a good conservation state with large extension of forests. © 2013 Copyright Taylor and Francis Group, LLC.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)154-174
JournalJournal of Land Use Science
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2013


  • deforestation
  • drivers of change
  • land change modeler
  • land cover change
  • scenario land use
  • South America


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