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    Contemporary forest loss in Ireland; quantifying rare deforestation events in a fragmented forest landscape

    Devaney, John L. and Redmond, John J. and O'Halloran, John (2015) Contemporary forest loss in Ireland; quantifying rare deforestation events in a fragmented forest landscape. Applied Geography, 63. pp. 346-356. ISSN 01436228

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    Accurate quantification of forest loss is required to meet international reporting requirements, even in countries where deforestation rates are low. In Ireland, recent evidence has suggested the rate of gross annual deforestation is increasing. However, no spatially explicit data on the extent and character of contemporary deforestation exists. Here, we quantify deforestation in a region where forest loss is rare. Deforestation estimates derived from wall-to-wall photointerpretation, official records (e.g. felling licences), the CORINE land-use/land cover changes dataset and a combined approach (hereafter termed “the Deforestation Map”) are compared in two regions in Ireland for the period 2000 to 2012. Deforestation area based on the Deforestation Map (1497 ha) was greater than estimates derived from using photo-interpretation (730 ha), official records (908 ha) and CORINE (139 ha) alone. Independent accuracy assessment highlighted high errors of omission for photo-interpretation (68.9%), official records (66.7%) and CORINE (91.84%) estimates compared to the Deforestation Map (20%). No general increase in the deforestation rate during the study period was recorded, despite regional variations. Post deforestation land-use transitions were principally to wetland, grassland and settlement although the magnitude and proportion of change varied regionally. Gross annual deforestation was higher in older broadleaf forests than in conifer plantation forests, a surprising finding considering the small area and conservation status of many broadleaf forests in Ireland. For countries with small forest area and/or low rates of deforestation, the use of methodologies employed herein can provide a valuable record of forest loss and be used to validate sample-based or remotely sensed deforestation estimates.

    Item Type: Article
    Keywords: Deforestation; Ireland; UNFCCC; National Forest Inventory; Land-use change; CORINE;
    Academic Unit: Faculty of Science and Engineering > Biology
    Item ID: 16189
    Identification Number:
    Depositing User: John Devaney
    Date Deposited: 28 Jun 2022 15:31
    Journal or Publication Title: Applied Geography
    Publisher: Elsevier
    Refereed: Yes
    Use Licence: This item is available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike Licence (CC BY-NC-SA). Details of this licence are available here

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