Evaluating the recent landscape change of Río Maipo wetland, Chile
In this article we assessed the change experienced in the last decades by the landscape of Río Maipo wetland, located on the central coast of Chile, as a result of the anthropic pressure exerted on its land covers. For this purpose, a selection of landscape metrics was applied to its main vegetation land cover classes, mapped on satellite images acquired in 2006 and 2020 from official cadastres, and contrasted with field observations. The results standout the significant expansion of fruit trees and vegetable crops at the expense of the fragmentation of the pre-existing native vegetation. This fragmentation is characterized by substantial reductions in the area and size of its patches, as well as increases in the separation distance between patches and in the patches’ edge irregularities, with some cases showing confinement to riparian zones. Despite actions taken since the beginning of this century to protect the wetland, it becomes necessary to conduct further research, given the scarce scientific documentation available on its ecosystem. Such research, based on field data, would provide greater ecological interpretability to the quantitative findings presented here. This could contribute to the planning and management of the wetland in light of the recently approved Urban Wetlands Law.
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