Alexandria Digital Research Library

Climate change versus human population and development : hurricanes, urbanization, and tourism impacts on land change in the tropical island ecosystems of Roatan, Honduras

Author:
Tuholske, Cascade P.
Degree Grantor:
University of California, Santa Barbara. Geography
Degree Supervisor:
David Lopez-Carr
Place of Publication:
[Santa Barbara, Calif.]
Publisher:
University of California, Santa Barbara
Creation Date:
2016
Issued Date:
2016
Topics:
Climate change, Remote sensing, and Geography
Keywords:
Caribbean
Climate Change
Land Use-Cover Change
Remote Sensing
Tourism
Mangroves
Genres:
Dissertations, Academic and Online resources
Dissertation:
M.A.--University of California, Santa Barbara, 2016
Description:

Relatively little scholarship has compared the ecological impact of acute climate-related events versus chronic human pressures. Despite mounting pressures from climate change and rapid tourism development across the Caribbean, even less research has assessed the relative impacts of biophysical versus anthropogenic pressures on the region's island landscapes. We compare the effects of an extreme climate event in the years immediately following Hurricane Mitch in 1998 relative to thirty years of rapid urbanization and tourism development on Roatan, Honduras. Results from a random forest classifier applied to thirteen Landsat Thematic Mapper (TM) and Operational Land Imager (OLI) scenes, indicate that between 1985 and 2015 urban area increased by 982.8 ha (227.7%), with 224.1 ha (-19.1%) of mangroves converted to urban areas. This compares to a 37% (384.9 ha) decrease in mangroves immediately following Hurricane Mitch. Mangroves in protected areas have fully recovered since Mitch, demonstrating their resiliency. Despite being illegal, mangrove deforestation across all unprotected areas accelerated to accommodate increasing urban area. Given that mangroves provide vital protection to an island's coastline and represent a major carbon-sink, and that extreme hurricanes in the Caribbean are projected to double in the coming decades due to climate change, this research suggests that rapid urbanization and tourism development in the Caribbean may decrease island ecosystem resiliency to environmental stressors.

Physical Description:
1 online resource (29 pages)
Format:
Text
Collection(s):
UCSB electronic theses and dissertations
ARK:
ark:/48907/f3q240dw
ISBN:
9781369340839
Catalog System Number:
990047190120203776
Rights:
Inc.icon only.dark In Copyright
Copyright Holder:
Cascade Tuholske
File Description
Access: Public access
Tuholske_ucsb_0035N_13180.pdf pdf (Portable Document Format)