Get the CIFOR publications update

CIFOR publishes over 400 publications every year on forests and climate change, landscape restoration, rights, forest policy, agroforestry and much more in multiple languages.

Forest cover change analysis as a proxy: sustainability assessment using remote sensing and GIS in West Kalimantan, Indonesia

Forest cover change analysis as a proxy: sustainability assessment using remote sensing and GIS in West Kalimantan, Indonesia

This study used a time series of remote sensing data from 1973, 1990 and 1994 to assess sustainability of forest use in three villages in West Kalimantan, Indonesia. This time period is characterised by a shift among three separate, recognised management systems: indigenous management; timber concessionaire management; and management as a wildlife reserve. Comparing remotely sensed data from three different sources with different spatial and spectral resolutions presented a technical challenge. A combined digital and visual classification methodology was adopted to produce comparable forest cover maps. These maps were combined within a geographical information system (GIS) with socioeconomic and cultural data. Quantitative change analysis over such a long period provided a valuable insight into forest cover dynamics in this area. The three villages selected for the study are characterised by two distinct patterns of resource use: shifting cultivation and capture fishery. Comparison of the forest change maps over the 21-year period shows that forest loss among the community of shifting cultivators is 7% less than forest loss for one of the fishing communities. Remarkably, the other fishing community examined shows only a 1.5% loss in forest over the 21-year period. Through this work we have combined forest cover change with ethnographic and socioeconomic data (both in a GIS and by conventional means). We feel that this approach can make a valuable contribution to assessing sustainability.

Authors: Dennis, R.A.; Colfer, C.J.P.; Puntodewo, A.

Topic: forests,change,assessment,geographical information systems,remote sensing

Geographic: West Kalimantan,Indonesia

Publisher: Resources for the Future and CIFOR, Washington, DC

Publication Year: 2001

Source: Colfer, C.J.P., Byron, Y. eds. People managing forests: the links between human well-being and sustainability. 362-387

Export Citation

Related viewing


CIFOR website usability survey

We're conducting research on our website and we'd love to hear from you about your experience on This will help us make improvements and prioritize new features. The survey should only take 5 minutes, and your responses are completely anonymous.

If you have any questions about the survey, please email us:

We really appreciate your input!

Start survey
I don’t want to participate
Remind me later