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Remote sensing as a tool for mapping and monitoring habitat: a case study of the St. Vincent Parrot (Amazona guildingii)

J.L. Delahunty
Ornithological Ephemera
Online Text

Though the indigenous St. Vincent Parrot (Amazona guildingii) has come back from near extinction, the parrots remain victims of human predation for the pet market and are in danger of habitat loss, habitat fragmentation, and environmental degradation. St. Vincent lost 246.5 ha of forest to agriculture between 1973 and 1983. In the absence of extensive niche and range-dynamics research and ultimately an ability to understand sensitivities to habitat loss, remaining habitat should be conserved. Crown Lands provide the bulk of the parrot’s habitat and penalties for illegal land use above the 1000-foot contour are not strictly enforced. As many as 41 locations on St. Vincent’s Crown Lands are falling to subsistence agriculture and logging. This is exacerbated by the inaccessibility of the highland regions and a lack of modern maps. Remote-sensing techniques provide an excellent means to map and monitor habitat and aid in land-use legislation enforcement. The use of satellite imagery for land-use planning and monitoring in the Caribbean should not be dismissed because of cost concerns or classification problems due to extremes in topography.

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