JWARP  Vol.8 No.4 , April 2016
Landscape Structural Indicators as a Tool to Assess Land Use Changes in Planning for Sub-Basin Sustainability (Southeastern Brazil)
Abstract: Land use is shaped by the interactions between nature and society, and these interactions can inhibit environmental sustainability and deplete the natural capital that provides the ecosystem services upon which humans depend. Urbanity Index and Landscape Vulnerability Indicator have been proposed to improve the impact interpretability of land use changes on sub-basin sustainability for local scenarios of biodiversity conservation. A time series of LandSat 5 Thematic Mapper remote sensing data from S&#227o Carlos municipality, Southeastern Brazil, for the years 1989, 2004 and 2014 revealed that land use changes in the sub-basins do not take place in a progressive and gradual way. Over the 25-year period, the main trends showed the loss and increase of forest cover so that it has remained quantitatively similar over time due to reduced agricultural land use. The aggregation of both indicators enabled the identification of greater naturalness and lower vulnerability, as well as lower naturalness and higher vulnerability under local sub-basin conditions, pointing the need for different strategies for sub-basin biodiversity conservation and sustainability. These preliminary scenarios provide a way to communicate problems of environmental sustainability at different landscape scales to the scientific community as well as to planners, policy makers and the broader public.
Cite this paper: Fushita, A. , dos Santos, J. , de Souza, I. , Romanini, E. and Costa, R. (2016) Landscape Structural Indicators as a Tool to Assess Land Use Changes in Planning for Sub-Basin Sustainability (Southeastern Brazil). Journal of Water Resource and Protection, 8, 482-492. doi: 10.4236/jwarp.2016.84041.

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