OBJECT-BASED IMAGE ANALYSIS APPROACH TO DETERMINE THE FALLOW PERIODS FOR SHIFTING CULTIVATION IN INDIGENOUS COMMUNITIES IN GUYANA
Keywords: Guyana, Shifting cultivation, Object-based image analysis, Time series satellite data, Landcover change
Abstract. Shifting cultivation is an agricultural practice that is the basis of subsistence for the Indigenous population in Guyana and has impacted on a total forest area of 13,922ha to varying degrees of impact on forest carbon. Generally, within these communities, there are two types of shifting cultivation: pioneer and rotational. Pioneer shifting cultivation involves the cutting of primary forest and subsequent cropping and then abandonment. Rotational shifting cultivation involves revisiting areas on a rotational cycle. In Guyana, shifting cultivation is not included in the sustainable land use system since no work has been done to understand the rotational cycles. This study utilized an Object-based image analysis (OBIA) of time-series satellite data (Landsat TM5 and OLI) for the period 2004 to 2017 to determine the dynamics of land cover, time-series changes, and prevailing shifting cultivation cycle in the indigenous communities of Jawalla and Phillipai in the western section of Guyana. OBIA proved to be an efficient method for shifting cultivation and sustainable forest management analyses in Guyana. The findings of this study indicate that short fallows are associated with shifting cultivation in Guyana and the size of the patches cleared each year has been increasing. These trends have potential ecological and livelihood implications that can impact the flow of ecosystem services and the sustainability of livelihoods.