Brazilian Journal of Biology
versão On-line ISSN 1519-6984
BECKER, F. G. et al. Land cover and conservation state of a region in the Southern limit of the Atlantic Forest (river Maquiné basin, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil). Braz. J. Biol. [online]. 2004, vol.64, n.3b, pp. 569-582. ISSN 1519-6984. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1519-69842004000400004.
The state of conservation of Atlantic Forest in the Maquiné river basin was assessed using land cover data obtained from Landsat TM 5 satellite imagery (October 1995). The initial analysis examined the distribution of the relative areas of each land-cover type according to landscape slope classes, potential vegetation zones, and a 90 m riparian buffer. Land-cover classes were then regrouped into categories representing "low", "intermediate", and "high" degree of anthropogenic alteration. Results indicate that about 70% of the land cover of the Maquiné river basin has been highly altered as a consequence of replacement of natural forests by agriculture. Presently, a recovery process seems to be underway, contrasting with the historical trend towards deforestation. There are large areas of secondary vegetation in intermediate (34.8%) and advanced successional stages (20.2%), particularly across the range of the montane forest and of forest formations that occur at elevations higher than 800 m (high-montane dense ombrophilous forest and mixed ombrophilous forest). The geographical location at the southern limit of the Atlantic Forest stricto sensu and comparison of the results with data on the state of conservation of the Atlantic Forest in Rio Grande do Sul indicate that the Maquiné river basin is an important area for conservation. Some points regarding future research and conservation management are also discussed.
Palavras-chave : Atlantic Forest; secondary forest; conservation; land use.