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Ecología austral

On-line version ISSN 1667-782X


BORGNIA, Mariela et al. Vegetation characterization of Laguna Blanca (Catamarca, Argentina) Biosphere Reserve. Ecol. austral [online]. 2006, vol.16, n.1, pp.29-45. ISSN 1667-782X.

In this work we present the first characterization and classification of plant communities and habitats in a typical area of the Argentinean Dry Puna sub-region, corresponding to Laguna Blanca (Catamarca, Argentina) Biosphere Reserve. A floristic list of 75 plant species was conducted. Six types of environments were characterized based on field work, satellite images using GIS: grass steppe, shrub steppe, mixed steppe, "vegas", "salt marsh" and "peladares". Three types of shrub steppes were recognized, based on dominant shrub: "rica-rical" (Acantholippia sp.), "tolillal alto" (Fabiana densa) and "tolillar bajo" (Fabiana spp.). Also three types of grass steppes were defined depending on dominant grass: Stipa spp., Festuca spp. and Panicum chloroleucum steppes. Two mixed steppes were described, based on grass species present: Stipa spp. and Panicum steppes. This classification was validated with Kappa index using independent control samplings. Four physiographic patterns or sub-landscapes were identified using visual image interpretation: low mountains, glacis, alluvial cones, "pedemonte", and valley. These physiographic patterns were associated with the vegetation description. Diversity and specific richness were calculated. This vegetation characterization and mapping allowed the comparison with other areas of Puna and provided basic information for reserve management.

Keywords : Puna; Protected areas; Vegetation mapping; GIS; Biodiversity; Resource management.

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