Fragmentation Patterns in Land Reform Settlements in the Brazilian Amazon

Chuyuan Wang, Marcellus M. Caldas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Direct action land reform (DALR) and settlement formation are new drivers of deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon. However, until now no research has paid attention to fragmentation patterns and the social processes that lead to them. This article analyzes two types of settlements, spontaneous and social movement organization-led settlements. The study uses neutral landscape models (NLMs) to compare simulated landscapes with the real fragmentation patterns found in DALR settlements. In sequence, the article uses landscape metrics to analyze the temporal and spatial dynamics of fragmentation patterns in these two types of DALR settlements. Results showed that there are significant differences between real landscape patterns and simulated landscapes using NLMs. In other words, human interferences did play a significant role in shaping deforestation patches in DALR settlements. Our metric results revealed a process in which deforestation patch mean area, shape complexity, and physical connectedness increase over time.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)742-758
Number of pages17
JournalSociety and Natural Resources
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • forest cover change
  • forest fragmentation
  • human and environmental interactions
  • land use change
  • land use policy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Development
  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science


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