PROGRESS IN GEOGRAPHY ›› 2014, Vol. 33 ›› Issue (6): 853-864.

• Climate and Environmental Change •

Progress of research on forest land cover change in the Indo-China Peninsula

LIAO Chenhua1,2, FENG Zhiming1, LI Peng1, ZHANG Jinghua1

1. 1. Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, CAS, Beijing 100101, China;
2. University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
• Received:2013-11-01 Revised:2014-04-01 Online:2014-06-25 Published:2014-06-25

Abstract: Forest cover is an extremely important natural resource in the Indo-china peninsula. It is of significant importance to the local ecological environment and socioeconomic development. This paper systematically summarizes and reviews research progresses on forest cover change in the Indo-china peninsula with respect to remote sensing monitoring and mapping, spatial-temporal variations, driving forces and ecological environmental effects, and discusses existing problems in these researches and trends of development. The results show that: (1) forest cover monitoring in the Indo-China peninsula have changed from optical remote sensing to radar remote sensing, and monitoring methods from single to multiple classifiers and data sources. The monitoring objects were mainly on natural forest covers, while monitoring of planted forests still face many difficulties; (2) forest cover area increased from 1980 to 1990 and declined since 1990. Among the five member countries of the Indo-China Peninsula, Thailand, Laos, Myanmar and Cambodia had decreased forest cover after 1990, while Vietnam is the only country where forest transition has occurred after the 1990s. The regional differences of forest cover change were significant in the Indo-China peninsula; (3) direct driving factors of forest cover changes were mainly cash plantation expansion, slash-and-burn cultivation, road construction and commercial logging, while indirect driving factors mainly included population change and socioeconomic and policy factors. The impacts on forest cover change were reflected in forest cover area, forest degradation/regeneration, and forest landscape ecology. The extent of impact was directly related to the pattern, intensity and frequency of disturbances; (4) the ecological and environmental impacts of forest cover change were mainly on water, atmosphere, soil and biology. Impact on water is focused on water retention of canopy and soil moisture regulating. Impact on the atmosphere is mainly on greenhouse gas emission and regional climate change. Impact on soil is largely on soil carbon emission and soil erosion. Biological impact is primarily on biodiversity. The forest cover change research in Indo-China peninsula has the following problems: (1) forest cover remote sensing monitoring was mainly on global area of forest cover, while studies on different forest types were rare, especially on local typical plantations. Research on forest degradation and regeneration was also inadequate; (2) the research of spatiotemporal patterns of forest cover change was mainly large-scale, while small-scale studies, especially comparative study of different countries or regions, were fewer; (3) research on the driving mechanisms of forest cover change was mostly qualitative or semi-quantitative, while integration of various data and quantitative analysis were inadequate. In view of these problems, future research on forest cover change of the Indo-China peninsula could be strengthened in the following three areas: (1) to explore or improve the monitoring methods of forest cover change, especially forest cover change in typical regions or typical forest types; (2) to enhance multi-scale, comprehensive and comparative study of forest cover change in the Indo-China peninsula; (3) to enhance quantitative study of forest cover change and the driving mechanisms.

CLC Number:

• S718.5