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Document Type

Thesis - University Access Only

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department / School


First Advisor

Trisha Jackson


Forest, Deforestation, Tropics, Landsat, Reflectance, Land use, Land cover, Validation, Field data, Congo, Democratic, Rupublic of Congo


Forest ecosystems represent an important component of natural systems by regulating climate and biogeochemical cycles, and as a key animal and plant habitat. Despite their importance, several authors have shown global evidence of deforestation, especially in the tropics. To better understand the process and the mechanisms of deforestation, this research involved a prototype field validation of tropical forest cover extent and change for the decade 2000-2010. An existing forest cover map made as part of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Central Africa Regional Program for the Environment (CARPE) was evaluated with field data. The field data quantified the utility of Landsat Enhanced Thematic Mapper Plus (ETM+) imagery in characterizing tree-dominated cover types, as well as their disturbance and conversion to cropland between 2000 and 2010. Landsat reflectance data and in situ field observations (trees height and circumference) were used to determine the best Landsat bands for quantifying deforestation, revealing the limitations of Landsat, particularly in discriminating primary forests from mature regrowing forests.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Forest mapping--Congo(Democratic Republic)--Bas-Congo
Landscape changes--Congo(Democratic Republic)--Bas-Congo
Land use mapping--Congo(Democratic Republic)--Bas-Congo
Deforestation--Congo(Democratic Republic)--Bas-Congo
Landsat satellites
Remote sensing
Spectrum analysis


Includes bibliographical references (pages 53-59)



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University


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