The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPR Korea) suffered considerable upland deforestation during the 1990s, yet its consequences remain relatively unknown. This paper examines this deforestation and resulting land-use change patterns by analysis of Landsat satellite images from 1979, 1992, 2001 and 2006 in Suan County, Hwanghae Province, DPR Korea. Results show that there has been significant closed canopy forest loss and a dramatic expansion of agricultural land during this period. Most forestlands were converted to farmland during 1992 and 2001. Food shortages, along with fuelwood and timber extraction, are considered to be the main drivers of deforestation. Landscape analysis also showed that closed canopy forests have been severely fragmented and degraded. These research findings make a contribution to an insufficient body of literature on environmental issues in DPR Korea and helps to establish a baseline for monitoring land-use and land-cover changes in the country.
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1.Minist Land & Environm Protect, Land Use Planning Inst, Pyongyang 999093, North Korea 2.Kunming Inst Bot, Ctr Mt Ecosyst Studies, Kunming 650204, Yunnan, Peoples R China 3.World Agroforestry Ctr, East Asia Off, Kunming 650204, Peoples R China 4.Yunnan Agr Univ, Coll Econ & Management, Kunming 650201, Peoples R China