Print version ISSN 0100-6762
PINHEIRO, Adilson et al. Land use of riparian zones in small and medium sized rural watersheds. Rev. Árvore [online]. 2011, vol.35, n.6, pp. 1245-1251. ISSN 0100-6762. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0100-67622011000700011.
Riparian zones are situated along the river margins, affecting ecological processes at the interface between terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems within watersheds. The Brazilian forest code established minimum distance buffers alongside river called permanent preservation areas. This work focuses on the distribution of land use types in different distances along superficial streams in watersheds of different sizes. SPOT-5 images were used to classify land use in six watersheds with areas between 14 and 600 km2. Land use was quantified within buffers at 20, 30, 50, 100 and 200 m width along the streams. Medium classification accuracy achieved a Kappa coefficient of 0.96. Dominant land use of riparian zones is natural forest cover (46.8% of total surface), followed by crop cultures (24.7%) and pastures (21.7%). Natural forest cover decreases with the increase of distance from the river margins, while afforestation cover increases.
Keywords : Riparian zone; Land use; Rural watershed.