Changing Landscapes Forest: Implications for its Conservation

James Rodríguez-Echeverry, Rodrigo Fuentes, Margareth Leiton, Edilia Jaque



The forest landscape of southern Chile, which includes Chilean temperate forest ecosystem, has been designated as a hotspot for biodiversity conservation. However, this landscape has been transformed by land-use change. A proper knowledge about how land-use change impact this ecosystem would provide crucial information for planning conservation strategies. At the commune of Arauco – Chile, the impact of the land-use change on the spatial pattern of native forest ecosystem from 1990 to 2010 was evaluated at the landscape level. This evaluation was carried out using satellite images, landscape metrics and spatially explicit models. The loss of native forest ecosystem was of 40.7% (loss rate of 4.39% per year). Conversely, the exotic species plantations increased more than 150%. The number patches of native forest ecosystem increased more than 130%. The size distribution of patches (<100 ha) increased more than 22%. The aggregation index of native forest ecosystem decreased from 62.5 to 40.1. The loss of native forest ecosystem was caused by the expansion of exotic species plantations, which was associated with substantial changes in the spatial pattern of the forest landscape. As a strategy for conservation of the native forest ecosystem we suggest a landscape approach, using the corridor–patch–matrix model. We recommend that this strategy be complemented with land-use planning. Moreover, this strategy must be supported by a framework of environmental policies. We also recommend strengthening the existing ecological restoration programmes and developing new programmes to restore the native forest ecosystem.

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Copyright (c) 2018 James Rodríguez-Echeverry, Rodrigo Fuentes, Margareth Leiton, Edilia Jaque

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Environment and Natural Resources Research   ISSN 1927-0488 (Print)   ISSN 1927-0496 (Online)   Email:

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