Grecchi, RC; Gwyn, QHJ; Benie, GB; Formaggio, AR (2013). Assessing the spatio-temporal rates and patterns of land-use and land-cover changes in the Cerrados of southeastern Mato Grosso, Brazil. INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF REMOTE SENSING, 34(15), 5369-5392.
The Cerrados of central Brazil have undergone profound landscape transformation in recent decades due to agricultural expansion, and this remains poorly assessed. The present research investigates the spatial-temporal rates and patterns of land-use and land-cover (LULC) changes in one of the main areas of agricultural production in Mato Grosso State (Brazil), the region of Primavera do Leste. To quantify the different aspects of LULC changes (e.g. rates, types, and spatial patterns) in this region, we applied a post-classification change detection method, complemented with landscape metrics, for three dates (1985, 1995, and 2005). LULC maps were obtained from an object-based classification approach, using the nearest neighbour (NN) classifier and a multi-source data set for image object classification (e.g. seasonal Thematic Mapper (TM) bands, digital elevation model (DEM), and a Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS)-derived index), strategically chosen to increase class separability. The results provided an improved mapping of the Cerrados natural vegetation conversion into crops and pasture once auxiliary data were incorporated into the classification data set. Moreover, image segmentation was crucial for LULC map quality, in particular because of crop size and shape. The changes detected point towards increasing loss and fragmentation of natural vegetation and high rates of crop expansion. Between 1985 and 2005, approximately 42% (6491km(2)) of Cerrados in the study area were converted to agricultural land uses. In addition, it was verified that cultivated areas are encroaching into fragile environments such as wetlands, which indicates the intense pressure of agricultural expansion on the environment.