Main content area

Delimitation of ecological corridors in the Brazilian Atlantic Forest

Santos, Jeangelis Silva, Leite, Catherine Cristina Claros, Viana, Julyana Cristina Cândido, dos Santos, Alexandre Rosa, Fernandes, Milton Marques, de Souza Abreu, Vítor, do Nascimento, Timóteo Paladino, dos Santos, Leandro Soares, de Moura Fernandes, Márcia Rodrigues, da Silva, Gilson Fernandes, de Mendonça, Adriano Ribeiro
Ecological indicators 2018 v.88 pp. 414-424
biological corridors, ecoregions, edge effects, environmental law, environmental quality, forests, grasslands, habitat fragmentation, land use, landscape ecology, path analysis, wildlife
The Atlantic Forest is an intensely fragmented and globally important ecological hotspot. In this context, the objective of this study was to analyze the landscape ecology and submit proposals for creating ecological corridors (ECs) in a Brazilian Atlantic Forest region. Landscape ecology metrics, based on the forest fragments map, were used for the analysis. Suggested corridors were based on least-cost path analysis, considering land use, declivity, permanent preservation areas (PPAs), and forest fragment sizes. Although the predominant class sizes in the study area are small fragments, landscape ecology analysis has shown good environmental quality for fragments larger than 100 ha that do not lose their central area, even for the largest edge distances. Four ECs were proposed, with an average length of 53.86 km, average width of 5.39 km, and average area of 28,786.32 ha. Land use conflicts showed that the fragments within the corridors were situated in a matrix dominated by grassland. PPAs within the proposed corridors were dominated by misused land and did not comply with environmental legislation. The proposed corridors were efficient in using the largest fragments, which have the least edge effect and provide necessary support for most wildlife. However, we emphasize that other factors can influence the delimiting of ECs; additional studies are required to obtain more effective ECs to connect habitats. The proposed methodology can be applied to other Brazilian and global ecoregion.