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Environ Manage. 2015 May;55(5):1124-38. doi: 10.1007/s00267-015-0447-7. Epub 2015 Jan 21.

Deforestation and forest fires in Roraima and their relationship with phytoclimatic regions in the northern Brazilian Amazon.

Author information

1
State University of Roraima (UERR), Rodovia BR 210, km 70, São João da Baliza, Roraima, 69375-000, Brazil.

Abstract

Deforestation and forest fires in the Brazilian Amazon are a regional-scale anthropogenic process related to biomass burning, which has a direct impact on global warming due to greenhouse gas emissions. Containment of this process requires characterizing its spatial distribution and that of the environmental factors related to its occurrence. The aim of this study is to investigate the spatial and temporal distribution of deforested areas and forest fires in the State of Roraima from 2000 to 2010. We mapped deforested areas and forest fires using Landsat images and associated their occurrence with two phytoclimatic zones: zone with savanna influence (ZIS), and zone without savanna influence (ZOS). Total deforested area during the interval was estimated at 3.06 × 10(3) km(2) (ZIS = 55 %; ZOS = 45 %) while total area affected by forest fires was estimated at 3.02 × 10(3) km(2) (ZIS = 97.7 %; ZOS = 2.3 %). Magnitude of deforestation in Roraima was not related to the phytoclimatic zones, but small deforested areas (≤17.9 ha) predominated in ZOS while larger deforestation classes (>17.9 ha) predominated in ZIS, which is an area with a longer history of human activities. The largest occurrence of forest fires was observed in the ZIS in years with El Niño events. Our analysis indicates that the areas most affected by forest fires in Roraima during 2000-2010 were associated with strong climatic events and the occurrence these fires was amplified in ZIS, a sensitive phytoclimatic zone with a higher risk of anthropogenic fires given its drier climate and open forest structure.

PMID:
25604215
DOI:
10.1007/s00267-015-0447-7
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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