Land Use in Buffer Zones of La Amistad International Biosphere Reserve, Costa Rica


Mark Wishnie: Forestry & Environmental Studies


This study uses remote sensing techniques to explore the concept of "buffer zones" on the Pacific side of La Amistad International Biosphere in Costa Rica. Land uses in variously delineated buffer zones are analyzed and compared. Thus far, land uses in the Talamanca Indigenous Reserves and Las Tablas Protected Zone have been classified using a 1998 Landsat TM image and compared with uses in buffer areas defined by Conservation International (CI) and classified by the Tropical Science Center (Calvo-Alvarado et al 1992). Using a classification with three classes (forest, pasture and crops), the Talamanca reserves are found contain proportionally more forest and less pasture than the CI sites but less forest and more pasture than Las Tablas. This suggests that the reserves may be a less effective buffer than Las Tablas but more effective than the CI sites.

Current work examines other delineations of the La Amistad buffer zones, particularly concentric zones around the park, and will use ground truthing to assess and refine the existing classification.

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13 March 2001