Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Atmospheric and Earth Science

Committee Chair

Robert E. Griffin

Committee Member

Africa Flores-Anderson

Committee Member

Thomas L. Sever


Deforestation--Amazon River Region., Deforestation--Peru., Land use--Amazon River Region., Land use--Peru., Synthetic aperture radar., Earth sciences--Remote sensing.


In the context of global environmental change, deforestation in the Amazon is a major concern for sustainable resource management, biodiversity conservation, and climate change mitigation. Understanding the processes of land use and land cover that drive deforestation is relevant towards more sustainable land management and will aid global initiatives such as the United Nation Framework Convention on Climate Change's (UNFCCC) Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD+). This thesis addresses the use of Earth Observations to monitor deforestation dynamics in the Madre de Dios region of Peru. Two papers are presented; the first analyzes the spatial patterns of forest loss within and outside key land tenure areas utilizing optical imagery and Spectral Mixture Analysis, and the second tests the use of Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) time series data to distinguish deforestation drivers through a land use land cover classification decision tree. The results from this study can be used to better regional policies related to deforestation in Madre de Dios, and inform on the use of SAR C-band data to distinguish drivers in a deforestation monitoring system.



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