This work has succeeded in quantifying the major changes in forest cover in south-central Chile, and in assessing the substantial forest loss that has taken place over the last 25 years in the study area. The research applies standard remote sensing methods in conjunction with spatial pattern analyses to an area of southern-hemisphere temperate forest never previously studied.
The analyses conducted illustrated how forest loss was strongly associated with an increase in area of exotic-species plantations. The changes in pattern, in turn, were related to increased forest fragmentation, which was re- ﬂected by signiﬁcant modiﬁcation of size, density, edge, isolation, connectivity, and core area of forest patches. The successful description of pattern change accompanying deforestation and forest fragmentation provides a critical component of habitat analysis.
At a local level, these changes may result in the elimination, displacement, or enhancement of species populations. Additionally, the identiﬁcation of these patterns is important to facilitate future landscape management and monitoring actions in this type of forest. Proactive management with a focus on biodiversity conservation and sustainable use is urgent. Although an analysis of the effects of fragmentation on the species and genetic levels of biodiversity was outside the scope of the present study, the description of landscape spatial pattern provides a basis for future research investigating such impacts.
This research was made possible by funding from BIOCORES (Biodiversity conservation, restoration, and sustainable use in fragmented forest landscapes) project ICA-CT-2001-10095; Bursary for young researchers from developing countriesEuropean Union (administered by UFZ, Germany); the UNEPWCMC Chevening Scholarship in Biodiversity; and the FORECOS Scientiﬁc Nucleus P01-057-F (MIDEPLAN). The manuscript was improved by comments from three anonymous reviewers.
source: Rapid deforestation and fragmentation of Chilean Temperate Forests
by Cristian Echeverria a,b, * ,1 , David Coomes a , Javier Salas c , Jose´ Marı´a Rey-Benayas d , Antonio Lara b , Adrian Newton