This study uses Landsat satellite data to document the rates and patterns of land-cover change along a portion of the Colombia-Ecuador border during a 23-yr period (1973–1996). Human colonization has resulted in extensive deforestation in both countries. Satellite change detection analysis showed that the annual rates of deforestation were considerably higher for the Colombian side of the border. In addition, loss of forest cover on the Colombian side for the study period was almost 43%, while only 22% on the Ecuadorian side. The study found that there is no single factor driving deforestation on either side of the border, but concluded that the higher rates on the Colombian side may be due to higher colonization pressures and intensification of illegal coca cultivation. On the Ecuador side of the border the satellite images documented patterns of deforestation that reflected road networks associated with oil exploration and development.
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