Resource Details

Deforestation and reforestation of Latin America and the Caribbean (2001–2010)

Literature: Journal Articles

Aide, T. M., Clark, M. L., Grau, H. R., López‐Carr, D., Levy, M. A., Redo, D., Bonilla‐Moheno, M., Riner, G., Andrade‐Núñez, M.J. & Muñiz, M. 2012. "Deforestation and reforestation of Latin America and the Caribbean (2001–2010)", Biotropica. Vol 0, no. 0, pp. 1-10.

Contact Info

Corresponding Author:


  • Department of Biology, University of Puerto Rico, PO Box 23360, San Juan, PR, 00931-3360, U.S.A.
  • Department of Geography and Global Studies, Center for Interdisciplinary Geospatial Analysis, Sonoma State University, Rohnert Park, CA, 94928, U.S.A.
  • CONICET, Instituto de Ecologı´a Regional, Universidad Nacional de Tucuma´ n, Casilla de Correo 34 (4107), Yerba Buena, Tucuma´n, Argentina
  • Department of Geography, University of California, Ellison Hall 3611, Santa Barbara, CA, 93106, U.S.A.
  • Center for International Earth Science Information Network, Earth Institute, Columbia University, 61 Route 9W, Palisades, NY, 10964, U.S.A.
  • Red de Ambiente y Sustentabilidad, Instituto de Ecologı´a, A.C. Carretera antigua a Coatepec, 351 El Haya C.P., 91070, Xalapa, Veracruz, Mexico


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  • This study analyzed satellite images to quantify land cover change in the entirety of Latina America and the Caribbean (all countries south of the Unites States) between 2001 and 2010. They used a biome dependent definition of forest (ie, it varied throughout the region), and used MODIS vegetation indices (color scheme) for vegetation classification (woody vegetation, mixed woody / plantation, agricultural / herbaceous).
  • In total, the Latin America and Caribbean region lost 541000 km^2 of forest and gained 362000 km^2 from reforestation. The areas of reforestation were predominantly in the Caribbean, Mexico, Colombia, and Venezuela, with a loss in the other countries of South America. (Reforestation can mean any kind of gain in vegetation cover, such as shrub growth, re-colonization, plantation, etc.).  
  • Overall, most of the vegetation gain was in desert / xeric vegetation (including shrubs) in dry and montane areas (including plantations), and the loss was in wet / moist forest.
  • Regarding drivers, data show that most deforestation was caused by environmental variables (vegetation type) and not demographics (population change). Most areas deforested were located in low elevations with low population densities (17 people / km^2), whereas reforesting areas were located in higher elevations with higher densities (42 people / km^2). Most deforestation was driven by large-scale agriculture (soy, cattle) in Brasil, Bolivia, Argentina, and Paraguay.
  • Some of the gain in forest area in the dry regions (of northern Mexico and Caatinga Brasil) was a result of increased precipitation and decrease in grazing and agriculture.


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