Journal of Geographical Sciences ›› 2021, Vol. 31 ›› Issue (10): 1529-1552.doi: 10.1007/s11442-021-1910-4

• Research Articles • Previous Articles    

Urban forest loss using a GIS-based approach and instruments for integrated urban planning: A case study of João Pessoa, Brazil

Leandro Ismael de Azevedo LACERDA1, José Augusto Ribeiro da SILVEIRA2, Celso Augusto Guimarães SANTOS3,*(), Richarde Marques da SILVA4, Alexandro Medeiros SILVA4, Thiago Victor Medeiros do NASCIMENTO3, Edson Leite RIBEIRO5, Paulo Vitor Nascimento de FREITAS1   

  1. 1. Federal University of Paraíba, Laboratory of Urban and Built Environment - LAURBE, 58051-900 João Pessoa, Paraíba, Brazil
    2. Federal University of Paraíba, Department of Architecture and Urbanism, 58051-900 João Pessoa, PB, Brazil
    3. Federal University of Paraíba, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, 58051-900 João Pessoa, PB, Brazil
    4. Federal University of Paraíba, Department of Geosciences, 58051-900 João Pessoa, PB, Brazil
    5. Ministry of Cities, Setor de Autarquias Sul, Quadra 01, Lote 01/06, Bloco H, Ed. Telemundi II, 70070-010 Brasília, DF, Brazil
  • Received:2020-11-08 Accepted:2021-03-10 Online:2021-10-25 Published:2021-12-25
  • Contact: Celso Augusto Guimarães SANTOS
  • About author:Leandro I A Lacerda (1994-), specialized in architecture and urbanism
  • Supported by:
    Brazilian Agency for the Improvement of Higher Education(Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior - CAPES) - Fund Code 001;The National Council for Scientific and Technological Development, Brazil - CNPq(304213/2017-9);The National Council for Scientific and Technological Development, Brazil - CNPq(304540/2017-0);The Federal University of Paraíba


Urban forests play an important role in the thermal comfort and overall life of local populations in large- and medium-sized cities. This study analyzes urban forest loss and maps land use and land cover (LULC) changes between 1991 and 2018 by evaluating the use of urban planning instruments for the mitigation of urban forest loss in João Pessoa, Brazil. For this purpose, satellite-derived LULC images from 1991, 2006, 2010 and 2018 and data on urban forest loss areas obtained using the Google Earth Engine were used. In addition, this paper also discusses the instruments used for integrated urban planning, which are (a) the legal sector, responsibility and nature; (b) the urban expansion process; and (c) the elements of urban infrastructure. The results show a clear shift in land use in the study area. The major changes in LULC classes occurred in urban areas and herbaceous vegetation, while the greatest loss was in arboreal/shrub vegetation. Thus, an increase in the pressure to occupy zones intended for environmental preservation could be estimated. Our results showed similar accuracies with other studies and more spatial details. The characteristics of the patterns, traces, and hotspots of urban expansion and forest cover loss were explored. We highlighted the potential use of this proposed framework to be applied and validated in other parts of the world to help better understand and quantify various aspects of urban-related problems such as urban forest loss mapping using instruments for integrated urban planning and low-cost approaches.

Key words: integrated planning, mapping, thematic synthesis, urban afforestation, urban planning