Thesis Title

The Use of Landsat Data to Monitor Forest Destruction in Eastern Honduras

Date of Graduation

Fall 2001


Master of Science in Geospatial Sciences


Geography, Geology, and Planning

Committee Chair

Elias Johnson

Subject Categories

Earth Sciences


Tropical deforestation is becoming one of the most publicized topics today because of the emerging relationship between deforestation and soil erosion, floods, drought, and rural poverty. Further, the world's remaining tropical forests are disappearing at accelerating rates, and this may be contributing to global climate change. This change detection case study investigates forest destruction using Landsat TM data over a three-year period in the state of Olancho located in Eastern Honduras. The case study will determine area and extent of deforestation by comparing two Landsat images approximately three years apart. Image processing software will be used to view the satellite images, classify land use, and detect change. This area is geographically diverse covering several vegetation types and different terrains. Objectives are to document the amount of deforestation, locate the areas where deforestation is taking place, and document the primary patterns and locations of deforestation. Change from forest to agriculture was found between the 1987 and 1990 images. This study is important because it will help monitor changes in land use, a major cause of forest destruction and a potential cause of global climate change.


© Nathan Stephenson