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Revista chilena de historia natural

Print version ISSN 0716-078X


AGUAYO, MAURICIO; PAUCHARD, ANÍBAL; AZOCAR, GERARDO  and  PARRA, OSCAR. Land use change in the south central Chile at the end of the 20th century: Understanding the spatio-temporal dynamics of the landscape. Rev. chil. hist. nat. [online]. 2009, vol.82, n.3, pp.361-374. ISSN 0716-078X.

Land use changes have transformed much of the Earth's surface in the last 300 years. Deforestation, intensification of agriculture, and urban sprawl have radically changed the preindustrial landscape. In south-central Chile, landscape change was initially related to the expansión of farming to address national needs and the growing international demand for agricultural products. Subsequently, prívate forestry, subsidized by the State, promoted the accelerated expansión of industrial plantations, a process that largely determines the current landscape configuration. In this study, we document the spatial dynamics of land-use change in 2.3 million hectares of the Biobío and Araucanian regions during the last two decades of the 20th century. Two land cover maps were developed from satellite imagery comparing a 20-year period (1979 and 2000). Results confirm that major changes in the landscape were due to exotic tree plantations for forestry purposes, agricultural activities, and urban and industrial sprawl. Accordingly, we conclude that substantial loss of native forest cover was driven by the expansión of commercial plantations towards mid-elevations in the Andes and Coastal ranges.

Keywords : dynamic landscape; land use and land cover change; native forest loss; south central Chile.

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