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Land Use and Land Cover Changes in South East Asia : The effects of land transformations on biophysical variables in Indonesia

Abstract : Over the last decades, Indonesia has experienced dramatic land transformations with an expansion of oil palm plantations at the expense of tropical forests. Indonesia is currently one of the regions with the highest transformation rate of the land surface worldwide related to the expansion of oil palm plantations and other cash crops replacing forests on large scales. As vegetation is a modifier of the climate near the ground these large-scale land transformations have major impacts on surface biophysical variables such as land surface temperature (LST), albedo, vegetation indices (e.g. the normalized difference vegetation index, NDVI), on the surface energy balance and energy partitioning.Despite the large historic land transformation in Indonesia toward oil palm and other cash crops and governmental plans for future expansion, this is the first study so far to quantify the impacts of land transformation on biophysical variables in Indonesia. To assess such changes at regional scale remote sensing data are needed.As a key driver for many ecological functions, LST is directly affected by land cover changes.We analyze LST from the thermal band of a Landsat image and produce a high-resolution surface temperature map (30 m) for the lowlands of the Jambi province in Sumatra (Indonesia), a region which experienced large land transformation towards oil palm and other cash crops over the past decades. The comparison of LST, albedo, NDVI, and evapotranspiration (ET) between seven different land cover types (forest, urban areas, clear cut land, young and mature oil palm plantations, acacia and rubber plantations) shows that forests have lower surface temperatures than the other land cover types, indicating a local warming effect after forest conversion. LST differences were up to 10.1 ± 2.6 ºC (mean ± SD) between forest and clear-cut land. The differences in surface temperatures are explained by an evaporative cooling effect, which offsets an albedo warming effect.Young and mature oil palm plantations differenced in their biophysical. To study the development of surface biophysical variables during the 20 – 25 years rotation cycle of oil palm plantations, we used three Landsat images from the Jambi province in Sumatra/Indonesia covering a chronosequence of oil palm plantations.Our results show that differences between oil palm plantations in different stages of the oil palm rotation cycle are reflected in differences in the surface energy balance, energy partitioning and biophysical variables. During the oil palm plantation lifecycle the surface temperature differences to forest gradually decrease and approach zero around the mature oil palm plantation stage of 10 years. Concurrently, NDVI increases and the albedo decreases approaching typical values of forests. The surface energy balance and energy partitioning show a development patterns related to biophysical variables and the age of the oil palm plantations. Newly established and young plantations (< 5 years) have less net radiation available than mature oil palm plantations, yet have higher surface temperatures than mature oil palm plantations. The changes in biophysical variables, energy balance and energy partitioning during the oil palm rotation cycle can be explained by the previously identified evaporative cooling effect in which the albedo warming effect is offset. A main determinant in this mechanism is the vegetation cover during the different phases in the oil palm rotation cycle. NDVI as a proxy for vegetation cover showed a consistent inverse relation with the LST of different aged oil palm plantations, a trend that is also observed for different land use types in this study. (Last and final summary in the thesis)
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Clifton Sabajo. Land Use and Land Cover Changes in South East Asia : The effects of land transformations on biophysical variables in Indonesia. Agronomy. AgroParisTech; Georg-August-Universität (Göttingen, Allemagne), 2018. English. ⟨NNT : 2018AGPT0005⟩. ⟨tel-02626801⟩

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