Land cover changes have not been well documented in Vietnam. This paper presents new information relevant to land cover modifications and to resource inventory such as forest management and wildlife habitats. Formed in 1991, Bach Ma National Park and its buffer zone is one of the richest regions for biodiversity in Asia, providing habitat for endangered species. The paper assesses the major forest cover changes using Remote Sensing Imagery (Landsat: MSS, TM, ETM) between the years prior to the establishment of national park status and the years following. Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) was used across sensors; for the study area five regions were identified where major land-cover changes have occurred. Between 1973 and 2001 it is estimated that approximately 45 % of the buffer zone was modified, or lost its forest cover, with most changes occurring around 1989, just prior to the park establishment. These changes can most likely be attributed to forest and resource extrapolation that coincided with a high human population density and is supported by extensive road building in the surrounding region. More research is needed to improve presented approaches in order to better safeguard forested landscapes in Vietnam.
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