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Title: Determining vegetation coverage and changes in land use under the Quesungual slash and mulch agroforestry system

item Herrick, Jeffrey - Jeff

Submitted to: Ecological Society of America Abstracts
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/15/2006
Publication Date: 8/4/2206
Citation: Baquera, N., Herrick, J.E., Ayarza, M. 2206. Determining vegetation coverage and changes in land use under the Quesungual slash and mulch agroforestry system [abstract]. Ecological Society of America Abstracts. August 8, 2006, Memphis, Tennessee. Paper No. 62989.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Land use throughout history has changed to suit the needs of the people, but just as the needs of the people have changed so should the methods employed to cultivate the land. As of 1985 producers in the municipality of Candelaria in the Department of Lempira in Honduras have been applying a locally developed method known as the Quesungual Slash and Mulch Agroforestry System (QSMAS). Candelaria is an area composed of slopes that commonly exceed 45 degrees, which results in high erosion rates from cultivated fields. The QSMAS is an alternative to traditional slash and burn management, which requires extensive periods of time for recovery and contributes to soil erosion. The three main characteristics that distinguish the QSMAS from other traditional methods are the elimination of annual burning to allow accumulation of crop residue, management of native trees to provide a partial canopy that encourages rapid forest regeneration during fallow, and zero tillage in order to maintain soil structure and high mulch coverage. QSMAS provides the ability to reduce the time required by land to recover under fallow, which in turn may reduce the amount of land that exceeds land degradation thresholds. An extensive amount of research has been done to understand the dynamics of the system at the plot level however; little research has analyzed the extent of adoption and the change in tree coverage due to adoption. The objectives of this project are 1) develop methodology to monitor the changes in land cover and land use through remote sensing imagery, and 2) apply these methods and ground-based measurements in a pilot study to quantify land coverage and land use in an area near the municipality of Candelaria. Preliminary analysis indicates difficulty in distinguishing parcels within the same region of Silvopastoral and those applying the QSMAS system.