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Ecología austral

versión On-line ISSN 1667-782X


MUNOZ GARACHANA, Diego; ARAGON, Roxana  y  BALDI, Germán. Spatial structure of remnants of native forest in the Dry Chaco and the Espinal. Ecol. austral [online]. 2018, vol.28, n.3, pp.553-564. ISSN 1667-782X.

The vast territory of the Dry Chaco and the Espinal became one of the global centers for the production of grains and meat. Due to different legal norms, productive limitations or cultural causes, the native forest is preserved on extensive patches as well as on numerous small fragments within the agricultural matrix. These remnants are seldom considered by the scientific community and decision-makers, and are left out of territorial planning and conservation actions. In this paper, we describe the spatial structure of the remnants and generate a classification scheme that allows identifying different types according to their spatial properties. Following an object-based classification strategy, we mapped ~22000 remnants in eight foci areas (FA) scattered throughout the territory using CBERS-2B satellite images. By means of spatial metrics, these remnants of variable sizes, shapes and isolation levels were categorized into five classes, from “islets” to “compact blocks”. The surface of remnants was higher in the Dry Chaco than in the Espinal (between 10.1% and 19.4% in the first region, and between 3.1% and 7.3% in the second). Differences in the level of fragmentation were amplified between FA, depending both on the total surface of remnants and on the relative occurrence of different types. Thus, in the FA of San Luis the fragmentation was 70 times higher than in the FA of Anta (Salta). In this work, we provide tools for the identification and monitoring of these remnants, which may be considered for both productive and conservation purposes. Finally, management and conservation actions must recognize the existence of these pieces of forest in landscapes highly transformed by agricultural activity.

Palabras clave : Deforestation; Fragmentation; Spatial properties; Grain and meat production; Land planning; Conservation.

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