Human actions drive landscape heterogeneity, yet most ecosystem classifications omit the role of human influence. This study explores land use history to inform a classification of forestland of the Tayal Mrqwang indigenous people of Taiwan. Our objectives were to determine the extent to which human action drives landscape heterogeneity. We used interviews, field sampling, and multivariate analysis to relate vegetation patterns to environmental gradients and human modification across 76 sites. We identified eleven forest classes. In total, around 70 % of plots were at lower elevations and had a history of shifting cultivation, terrace farming, and settlement that resulted in alder, laurel, oak, pine, and bamboo stands. Higher elevation mixed conifer forests were least disturbed. Arboriculture and selective harvesting were drivers of other conspicuous forest patterns. The findings show that past land uses play a key role in shaping forests, which is important to consider when setting targets to guide forest management.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Geography, Planning and Development
- Environmental Chemistry