Beyond the park and city dichotomy: Land use and land cover change in the northern coast of São Paulo (Brazil)



Pierri Daunt AB & Silva TSF (2019) Beyond the park and city dichotomy: Land use and land cover change in the northern coast of São Paulo (Brazil). Landscape and Urban Planning, 189, pp. 352-361.

The natural and cultural landscapes of the Northern Coast of São Paulo State (Brazil) are threatened by increasing urban growth, as a result of inefficient land use management and fast population growth. Our work analysed land use/cover changes (LULCC) between 1985 and 2015 at 5 year intervals, to describe and understand the main processes and drivers of landscape change. LULCC were mapped using Landsat images and geographic object-based image analysis (GEOBIA), based on the Random Forests supervised algorithm. Over 30 years, we show a dichotomic trend for the two main land change trajectories: forest persistence and fast urban growth. We found only 8% of forest disturbance within the State Parks, while dense urban settlements grew 163% outside the park, mainly replacing rural uses. We estimate that all available land for human settlement may be occupied by 2030 as a result of this fast urban growth. Our study exemplifies a likely pattern of land use change for coastal regions, with fast urban growth driven by economic interests in transforming these regions into urban and touristic hubs, clashing with environmental policies for forest conservation and afforestation. The history of LULCC in the Northern Coast of São Paulo State has resulted in several land use conflicts in the present, especially when considering fast urban growth versus a very large proportion of areas where no human settlement is permitted. This complex combination of drivers has led to rural depopulation and decrease in small-scale agricultural uses, reducing the diversity and functionality of the studied landscape.

Landscape and Urban Planning: Volume 189

FundersBrazilian National Research Council
Publication date30/09/2019
Publication date online23/05/2019
Date accepted by journal08/05/2019

People (1)


Dr Thiago Silva

Dr Thiago Silva

Senior Lecturer, Biological and Environmental Sciences