A Landsat Thematic Mapper (TM) time-series, composed of images for 1996, 1999, and 2002, is used to monitor the patterns of land use change within the northern Ecuadorian Amazon for areas primarily influenced by spontaneous colonists and indigenous groups who deforested lands for agriculture extensification and the cultivation of commercial and/or subsistence crops. Pair-wise analyses of land use/land cover (LULC) change in 1996-1999, 1999-2002, and 1996-2002 are computed using a post-classification (i.e., from-to changes) change detection as well as changes in the fractional cover of LULC for two selected colonist sites and two indigenous communities. In addition to LULC change for the colonist and indigenous areas, the spatial organization or spatial structure of LULC change for the three image periods are derived using ecological pattern metrics. Results suggest that the postclassification change detection effectively describes the state and direction of LULC change across the image timeseries, whereas fractional cover describes the condition of LULC change between the change periods. Used here as separate approaches for landscape characterization, post-classification and fractional cover are best used in concert with each other as together they indicate a richer description of the type of LULC change occurring between image dates and the landscape conditions associated with those changes. Differences in the composition and spatial structure of LULC change exist between colonist and indigenous sites. Geographic accessibility and the degree of cultural assimilation of indigenous communities by colonists translate to a similar land use pattern that is described though comparable composition and pattern metric descriptors.