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Over the past 100 years in Southern Chile’s Patagonia Region, forest cover was removed to create lands for pastures and to use the lumber resources, and forest fires and other human-related activities caused further detriment to the landscape. Numerous organizations, such as Reforest Patagonia, Conservacion Patagonica, and the National Forest Corporation of Chile (CONAF), are purchasing private lands and working to alter the impending loss of forested lands in the region in an attempt to restore the natural habitat to its former grandeur. According to Reforest Patagonia, major—and visible—work has been done within the last five years to add forested lands to the region.

This project applies remote sensing methodologies to study the effects of reforestation and other land restoration efforts in the Chacabuco Valley—the site of a proposed National Park—within Patagonia, and intends to investigate the rates of reforestation efforts from 2011 to present. In order to map the rates of land restoration efforts, this work utilizes January Landsat-7 and Landsat-8 satellite imagery between 2006 and 2016. The purpose is to monitor the vegetation cover purportedly being replanted in the Chacabuco Valley, in order to assess the visibility of the efforts by Reforest Patagonia.

Reforest Patagonia, as well as other organizations, are accepting millions of dollars in private funding to reestablish the Chacabuco Valley’s beautiful landscape. This work seeks to quantify the reforestation efforts using satellite imagery of the replanted vegetation. Results from this work will highlight the application of remote sensing techniques to quantifying reforestation efforts.

Faculty Mentor

Nathan Amador