Landscape of the Highlands of Chiapas

While backing up some old information on my hard drive I rediscovered a document I produced for Pronatura at the end of November 2003. It lies somewhere between the status of informal field notes and a formal technical report. I presented it to Pronatura a week after a field trip in a light plane. The idea of the document was to record the discussion during the flight.

This was very much at the end of the “pre-google earth” era. Spatial analysis was still rather more of a specialised activity than it is today and I had only begun to become interested in the subject myself. My previous research was generally non-spatial.

Now a “fly over” of the region can be achieved rather more comfortably and safely with a laptop than a four seater plane. The experience was stomach churning at times with a few moments of sheer terror as the turbulence caused by thermals rising from the central depression hit.

Despite the fact that some of the analytical methods used were hurriedly applied and could certainly be refined, I still generally agree with most of the conclusions in the document.So I have placed it here in case it could be useful as a general introduction to the region. It is not directly citable, but similar statements to those included in the document have been made in peer reviewed work I have published together with Luis Cayuela, although there have been very slight differences in emphasis between my interpretation of patterns and causes of deforestation in the region and those adopted by Luis Cayuela and some other colleagues.

Here is the document in PDF form ….

reflections-after-a-flight-over-the-altos-of-chiapas

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