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Revista chilena de historia natural

Print version ISSN 0716-078X

Abstract

ALTAMIRANO, ADISON; ECHEVERRIA, CRISTIAN  and  LARA, ANTONIO. Effect of forest fragmentation on vegetation structure of Legrandia concinna (Myrtaceae) threatened populations in south-central Chile. Rev. chil. hist. nat. [online]. 2007, vol.80, n.1, pp.27-42. ISSN 0716-078X.  http://dx.doi.org/10.4067/S0716-078X2007000100003.

Habitat fragmentation is one of the main threats to ecosystems integrity. In this study we assessed the influence of forest fragmentation on vegetation structure of populations of tree specie Legrandia concinna in south-central Chile. Occupancy pattern of Legrandia populations in remaining fragments of native forests was described, and relationship between landscape indices and vegetation structure variables were evaluated. Landscape indices, such as area, proximity mean index, shape and edge distance to fragment were applied to forest cover maps generated from a Landsat ETM+ satellite scene for the year 2001. Results showed high predominance of reduced size fragments, high isolation levels and regulars shapes of the fragments. Occupancy pattern suggests that Legrandia populations are found mainly in small and more isolated fragments. No significant difference was found between fragment distribution with and without presence of Legrandia related to size and isolation. However, we found that size, isolation and distance to fragment edge are significantly related to the presence of this specie. As conservation measures for this specie, we propose to include populations with high disappearance risk in protected areas, promote ex situ conservation and set up a monitoring program. This study sets a precedent related by linking landscape scale information obtained from satellite imagery and vegetation structure information measured in the field with conservation status of threatened populations. This innovative method allows monitoring changes over time to assess effectiveness of conservation strategies for these populations

Keywords : Legrandia concinna; fragmentation; landscape indices; conservation.

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