Deforestation in the world's tropics is an urgent international issue. One response has been the development of satellite based monitoring initiatives largely focused on the carbon rich forests of western Indonesia. In contrast this study focuses on one eastern Indonesian district, Kabupaten Kupang, which has some of the largest and least studied tracts of remaining forest in West Timor. A combination of remote sensing, GIS and social science methods were used to describe the state of forests in Kabupaten Kupang, how and why they are changing. Using satellite imagery, case studies and on-ground interviews, this study explores the proposition that transdisciplinary local social, cultural and biophysical knowledge is important for effectively using remotely sensed data as a tool to inform local management policies. When compared to some other parts of Indonesia, the rate and extent of deforestation in West Timor was found to be relatively small and a satellite based assessment alone could conclude that it is not a critical issue. However this study showed that when on-ground social data are coupled with (such) satellitebased data a more complex picture emerges, related to key livelihood issues. The causes of forest cover change were found to be multivariate and location specific, requiring management approaches tailored to local social issues. This study suggests that integrative research can maximise the utility of satellite data for understanding causation and thus informing management strategies. In addition, the satellite based assessment found that at the time of the study less than 4% of forested land was within national parks and nature reserves and less than a third of the protected catchment forest zone was forested. These data suggest considerable scope for upland re-forestation activities or the redrawing of protected forest boundaries.
|Number of pages||8|
|Journal||International Journal of Applied Earth Observation and Geoinformation|
|Publication status||Published - Jun 2012|