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Impact of macroeconomic change on deforestation in South Cameroon

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Integration of information from household surveys and data on land-cover changes derived from remote sensing helps to understand the causes and processes of land-use/land-cover changes. A household survey covering 552 households in 33 villages was carried out in the East Province of Cameroon. This survey focused on land-use changes since the 1970s. Data were related to time series of remote sensing satellite data. A major interest of the filed data lies in the longitudinal framework of survey. It highlighted the evolution of the household and its land-use over three periods related to the key of macroeconomic periods, and corresponding to the dates of acquisition of the remote sensing data. The research results demonstrate that macroeconomic changes affecting Cameroon have played a fundamental role in the way land-use practices influence the forest cover. The results show that the annual rate of deforestation increased after the economic crisis as compared to the previous period. The household survey information enables identification of the casual relationships and the processes of land-use and land-cover changes. Observations reveal that the beginning of the economic crisis (1986) is associated in time with a strong increase of the deforestation rate related to population growth, increased marketing of food crops, modification of farming systems, and colonisation of new agricultural areas in remote forest zones.

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