Centre for Development and Environment (CDE)


A new "mosaics" approach to monitoring of swidden agriculture

​Appearing in Applied Geography, this new publication by CDE researchers describes application of a new mosaics approach for monitoring and assessing the development and impact of swidden agriculture, a cultivation technique that is often blamed for deforestation. Swidden agriculture is difficult to see on common pixel-based maps created from satellite images, making it difficult to assess its actual impact on landscapes. “A landscape mosaics approach for characterizing swidden systems from a REDD+ perspective” by Cornelia Hett et al. describes how the new approach makes it possible to identify swidden landscapes, evaluate their intensity and extent, and categorise changes in the landscape, helping to determine, for example, if swidden agriculture is actually increasing deforestation in a given area. The researchers’ findings are illustrated by a case study in Viengkham district in northern Laos

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