Forestation in Puerto Rico, 1970s to Present

  •  Fei Yuan    
  •  Jose Lopez    
  •  Sabrina Arnold    
  •  Anna Brand    
  •  Jonas Klein    
  •  Maureen Schmidt    
  •  Erin Moseman    
  •  Madeline Michels-Boyce    


It is important to monitor the trend of forestland changes, as forests are vital sources and sinks of carbon on the earth. One of the most densely populated jurisdictions of the United States, Puerto Rico, has experienced significant transformations in the past century. This study examines forestation in the main island of Puerto Rico during the past four decades using feature extraction and change detection analysis in multitemporal Landsat satellite imagery. The results of the study show that forest cover in Puerto Rico had almost tripled from 15.7% to 45.7% between 1972 and 2014. Moreover, the forestation trend and pace in abandoned coffee plantations and pastures continued after 1990, driven by continuous socioeconomic transformation. Natural forestation and conservation efforts from the government and nongovernment organizations have also contributed to the forest growth on the island. The information gained and lessons learned during the process may be applied to other densely populated tropical insular territories. 

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
  • ISSN(Print): 1916-9779
  • ISSN(Online): 1916-9787
  • Started: 2009
  • Frequency: semiannual

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Google-based Impact Factor (2018): 11.90

h-index (January 2018): 17

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h5-median(January 2018): 15