Conceptual frameworks for the analysis of land use changes in Argentina and Uruguay
marcos conceptuales para su análisis
Keywords:land use change, temporal and spatial, ecosystem services, land sue planning
Humans modify the territory to carry out productive activities or to build dwellings . These modifications generate important changes in the structure and function of ecosystems, ultimately affecting the quality of people’s life. In this article we first describe some of the land use changes happened in a large part of Argentina and Uruguay. We used official statistics of both countries and data from satellites images. Our analyses showed that agriculture and forest plantations expanded at high rates during the last years. In Argentina, annual crops (particularly soybean) presented the fastest expansion (from 4% to 14.3%, between 1988 and 2002). In Uruguay the most important change between the agricultural censi of 1990 and 2000, was the expansion of tree plantations, which ended up occupying more than 35% of the area of some counties (secciones censales). After year 2000, soybean crops also expanded in Uruguay, where counties in Western departments experienced an increase in the cropped area higher that 5% per year-1 . Additionally, we present a conceptual framework to understand the processes that determine land use changes and to describe their spatial and temporal dynamics. Starting from this conceptual framework it is possible to model land use changes, based on the transition probability among alternative land covers. The controls of these transitions can be environmental (i.e. soil types, climate, etc.), economic (i.e. gross margin, international prices, etc), social (i.e. manpower readiness, land holding, etc.), or political (i.e. the Uruguayan and Argentinean forest laws, taxes, state credits, etc.). Finally using the concept of ecosystem services we present a conceptual framework for planning land use transitions considering environmental, social, economic and political impacts.
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