A 17-year assesment of changes in biomass in the south of Chile, using Landsat satellite images
Bernales, Fredy A.
Southern Chile is recognized by different international organizations such as UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization), and Conservational International as an ecologically sensitive area. The country of Chile is home to one third of the earth’s remaining temperate forests. Monitoring and assessing land cover changes in these forests is important not only to international organizations but to the people of Chile. The lack of multi-temporal studies that evaluate changes in land cover biomass make this study an important one for increasing awareness of how the evolution of the landscape affects environmental planning and development of legal precedents aimed at protecting this rich ecological habitat. The results of this study revealed important differences between the growth and loss of biomass in the period between 1986 and 2003. In the study area, 40% of areas that traditionally supported row crops and pasture hay were replaced my forestry plantations and herbaceous successional vegetation. This replacement has impacted the Chilean people and their agricultural way of life. The results obtained depict the usefulness of Change Vector Analysis (CVA) as a technique to analyze changes in biomass over time.