Fragmentation of Araucaria araucana forests in Chile: quantification and correlation with structural variables

Juan Ramón Molina (1)   , Ángela Martín (2), Fernando Drake (3), Luis Miguel Martín (4), Miguel Ángel Herrera (1)

iForest - Biogeosciences and Forestry, Volume 9, Issue 2, Pages 244-252 (2015)
doi: https://doi.org/10.3832/ifor1399-008
Published: Aug 28, 2015 - Copyright © 2015 SISEF

Research Articles

Landscape fragmentation is one of the main threats to South American temperate forests due to population growth, conversion of native forests to plantations of exotic species and non-sustainable timber harvesting. The lack of forest connectivity can interfere with pollination, seed dispersal, biodiversity and landscape quality. Species with relatively limited seed dispersal are potentially more sensitive to the landscape fragmentation. Araucaria araucana (Mol.) K. Koch is a long-lived, slow-growing, relict conifer in South America’s temperate forests with large seeds possessing a limited dispersal range. The objective of the study was to identify priority areas for Araucaria conservation based on fragmentation quantification and correlation with structural variables and regeneration conditions. Results from the FRAGSTATS® and CONEFOR® software indicated that Araucaria connectivity has increased in sites located in the central Andean Range in comparison to other sites, because of reduced human and livestock pressure as well as the relative absence of commercial plantations. The proximity index ranged from 6.01 m to 34834.2 m, and the probability of connectivity has significantly increased (175663 ha) in the central Andean Range. Significant relationships were found between the Simpson’s index (or the probability of connectivity) and basal area, and between the mean largest patch index and crown diameter. The largest patch index (r = 0.6; p < 0.05) and the area-weighted mean proximity index (r = 0.767; p < 0.05) were the most important landscape metrics influencing Araucaria regeneration. Furthermore, the integration of spatial pattern analysis obtained from satellite images and aerial photographs with forest and regeneration characterization from field sampling allowed to identify the most vulnerable areas. The methodology presented here can assist in the identification of target areas for spatial conservation, including management needs under the current budget restrictions.


Landscape Conservation, Landscape Metrics, Landscape Connectivity, Spatial Pattern Indicators

Authors’ address

Juan Ramón Molina
Miguel Ángel Herrera
Departamento de Ingeniería Forestal, Escuela Técnica Superior de Ingeniería Agronómica y de Montes, Edificio Leonardo Da Vinci, Campus de Excelencia Internacional Agroalimentario (ceiA3), Universidad de Córdoba, ES-14071 Córdoba (Spain)
Ángela Martín
Departamento de Ingeniería del Medio Agronómico y Forestal, Avda. Virgen del Puerto 2, Centro Universitario de Plasencia, Universidad de Extremadura, ES-10600 (Spain)
Fernando Drake
Departamento de Manejo de Bosques y Medioambiente, Facultad de Ciencias Forestales, Universidad de Concepción, Casilla 160-C, Concepción (Chile)
Luis Miguel Martín
Departamento de Genética, Escuela Técnica Superior de Ingeniería Agronómica y de Montes, Edificio Gregor Mendel, Campus de Excelencia Internacional Agroalimentario (ceiA3),Universidad de Córdoba, ES-14071 Córdoba (Spain)

Corresponding author

Juan Ramón Molina


Molina JR, Martín Á, Drake F, Martín LM, Herrera MÁ (2015). Fragmentation of Araucaria araucana forests in Chile: quantification and correlation with structural variables. iForest 9: 244-252. - doi: 10.3832/ifor1399-008

Academic Editor

Matteo Garbarino

Paper history

Received: Jul 14, 2014
Accepted: May 04, 2015

First online: Aug 28, 2015
Publication Date: Apr 26, 2016
Publication Time: 3.87 months

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