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Assessment of Land Use Effect on Climate Change Sensitivity on the Northern Coastal Zone of Honduras

Arie Sanders, Denisse McLean, and Alexandra Manueles

July 2013, English

In this paper we examine the effect of land use and land use change on climate change sensitivity on the north coast of Honduras. To reach this objective, we ran simulations to analyze the spatial and temporal variations on sensitivity derived from land use differences and their implications on the use of land use policy as a tool for climate change adaptation in integrated coastal zone management. We developed two scenarios (trend and normative scenarios) for different spatial development trends for the 2010–2050 period. The biggest change in the trend scenario, current situation, would be a decrease in pasture (19.4%) and forestry (8.1%) as result from an increase in palm oil plantations. There would be more fragmentation and the region will become more vulnerable to climate change. In the case of the normative scenario we expect a 50.2% decrease in extensive livestock activities and an 18.3% increase of the broadleaved forest area, making the region less vulnerable to climate change. The national and local governments have a decisive role in assuring the implementation of their land use policies (normative scenario) to protect the region against climate change impact.

Keywords: land use and climate change, Honduras, coastal zone planning