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 JGIS  Vol.9 No.2 , April 2017
10-Years Land Use Changes Decrease Landscape Integrity in a Brazilian Hydrographic Basin
Abstract: Changes in land use associated with the suppression of native vegetation can greatly alter the landscape configuration, affecting biodiversity and environmental services availability. This study analyzes how changes in land use affect landscape patterns of vegetation remnant over a 10 year period. We quantified spatial landscape patterns throughout a hydrographic basin for the years 2002, 2008, 2010 and 2012, using nine landscape metrics. An indicator of integrity was used to details the transformation processes occurring in the basin that could be used to monitor the impact of landscape changes and its spatial patterning. Results showed that over this decade, extension of farming activities reduced the cover of native vegetation by 4.4%, with grassy-woody savanna, wooded savanna and forested savanna impacted especially strongly. Suppression of vegetation across this period reduced the size of fragments and their connectivity. The landscape fragmentation indicator indicated that the fragmentation pattern varied spatially, with the upland areas along river headwaters, being most fragmented. Areas of floodplains vegetation, belonged to the Pantanal Wetland, although in better integrity states, are the most threatened by current pressures of land use change. An intense recovery program for headwaters and aquifer recharge areas, as well as riparian forests, is recommended to avoid the future depletion of water production. Besides, we also recommend the maintenance and recovering of the connectivity of the current remaining patches of natural vegetation corridors and elaboration of specific laws that incoporate the consolidated scientific knowladge about wetland ecosystem functioning, like the Pantanal.
Cite this paper: Estevam, L. , Arieira, J. , Zeilhofer, P. and Calheiros, D. (2017) 10-Years Land Use Changes Decrease Landscape Integrity in a Brazilian Hydrographic Basin. Journal of Geographic Information System, 9, 221-243. doi: 10.4236/jgis.2017.92014.
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