Simulating Future Forest Cover Changes in Pakxeng District, Lao People’s Democratic Republic (PDR): Implications for Sustainable Forest Management


"Future forest cover changes were simulated under the business-as-usual (BAU), pessimistic and optimistic scenarios using the Markov-cellular automata (MCA) model in Pakxeng district, Lao People’s Democratic Republic (PDR). The Markov chain analysis was used to compute transition probabilities from satellite-derived forest cover maps (1993, 1996, 2000 and 2004), while the 'weights of evidence' procedure was used to generate transition potential (suitability) maps. Dynamic adjustments of transition probabilities and transition potential maps were implemented in a cellular automata (CA) model in order to simulate forest cover changes. The validation results revealed that unstocked forest and current forest classes were relatively well simulated, while the non-forest class was slightly underpredicted. The MCA simulations under the BAU and pessimistic scenarios indicated that current forest areas would decrease, whereas unstocked forest areas would increase in the future. In contrast, the MCA model projected that current forest areas would increase under the optimistic scenario if forestry laws are strictly enforced in the study area. The simulation scenarios observed in this study can be possibly used to understand implications of future forest cover changes on sustainable forest management in Pakxeng district."



forest management, sustainability, simulations, land tenure and use