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Revista mexicana de biodiversidad

On-line version ISSN 2007-8706Print version ISSN 1870-3453


RODRIGUEZ-ECHEVERRY, James  and  LEITON, Margareth. Loss and fragmentation of native forest ecosystems and its influence on habitat diversity in the Tropical Andes hotspot. Rev. Mex. Biodiv. [online]. 2021, vol.92, e923449.  Epub Oct 25, 2021. ISSN 2007-8706.

It is necessary to evaluate the degree of forest landscape transformation for a proper conservation and restoration planning. The aim of this study was to evaluate the spatio-temporal changes of native forest ecosystems and the influence of these changes on habitat diversity in the Mira River watershed, Ecuador, from 1991 to 2017. The evaluation was carried out using satellite images and landscape metrics. A loss of 9% of native forest ecosystems was recorded at a deforestation rate of 0.57% year-1, which was associated with the increase in agricultural crops. The highest native forest loss was for thorny dry forest, inter-andean dry forest, low-montane dry forest, and premontane very-wet forest. Changes in the spatial patterns of forest ecosystems revealed a severe fragmentation. The Shannon diversity index decreased by 0.20, reflecting the loss of native forest habitats relative to the loss and fragmentation of the ecosystems studied. This study suggested to landscape-scale conservation and restoration planning, using the patch-corridor-matrix model, which must be complemented with land use planning and supported within a framework of environmental policies.

Keywords : Biodiversity; Conservation; Río Mira watershed; Deforestation; Ecuador; Landscape; Anthropogenic processes.

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