CSU Professor Publishes Research on Decreasing Forest Cover

Dr. de la Sancha Finds Forest Cover in One of the Last Dry Forest Systems on Earth Decreases by More Than 20 Percent

DeLaSanchaCHICAGO (July 28, 2021) - Noé U. de la Sancha, Ph.D., Associate Professor at Chicago State University and Research Associate at Field Museum of Natural History, co-authored a newly released publication “The disappearing Dry Chaco, one of the last dry forest systems on Earth” in Landscape Ecology. The findings indicate not only rapid and significant forest cover loss, but also habitat fragmentation with clear harm to mammals.

The research by de la Sancha and his colleagues concluded that the Dry Chaco forest cover decreased by 20.2% (9.5 million hectare) between 2000 and 2019. The forest spans more than 87 million hectares across Argentina, Bolivia, and Paraguay and all three countries have experienced substantial reductions due to land-use change. Paraguay has undergone the greatest loss and fragmentation.

“The Dry Chaco forest in South America is an overlooked system that is home to a variety of fauna and wildlife,” said de la Sancha. 

Dry Chaco ForestThe objective was to compare patterns of deforestation-induced fragmentation and associated changes in the connectivity in the landscape between 2000 and 2019 in the three countries to identify consistent patterns that might facilitate biome-wide conservation.

The authors, Noé U. de la Sancha, Sarah A. Boyle, Nancy E. McIntyre, Daniel M. Brooks, Alberto Yanosky, Erika Cuellar Soto, Fatima Mereles, Micaela Camino and Richard D. Stevens found that the large number of forest fragments and distances between the forest fragments will likely result in negative impacts for some mammals in the Dry Forest ecosystem. Contemporary and future challenges of uncoordinated national conservation and management policies, land speculation, and increased human infrastructure will accelerate the rate of deforestation.

“The work of Dr. de la Sancha and his colleagues has brought the concerning recent deforestation of this unique dry forest to light,” said Dr. Leslie Roundtree, Interim Provost and Senior Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs at Chicago State University. “This type of research is a great example of the thought leaders students have access to here at CSU and how it can open up a world beyond the classroom.”

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