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Ecología en Bolivia

Print version ISSN 1605-2528On-line version ISSN 2075-5023


ARANCIBIA-ARCE, Luisa R. et al. Spatial and temporal assessment of fragmentation and connectivity analysis for ecotourism activities in a RAMSAR site: Bañados de Isoso (Santa Cruz, Bolivia). Ecología en Bolivia [online]. 2013, vol.48, n.2, pp.87-103. ISSN 1605-2528.

Protecting biodiversity in RAMSAR sites through conservation activities, like ecotourism, can be very useful to maintain ecological function. There are very few studies in Bolivia that incorporate landscape ecology as a strategic vision for ecotourism in general, and even less that focus on wetlands systems. The aim of this research was to assess the degree of fragmentation and structural connectivity in the landscape in order to understand the anthropogenic processes that have influenced Bañados de Isoso (Santa Cruz, Bolivia) in the last 30 years. To achieve this we used land use change coverage for the Bolivian lowlands (1976-2005) and we quantified changes in vegetation patterns and connectivity through moving windows and spatial sampling based on the scale of a typical ecotourism circuit. The most significant changes occurred after the 1990s with more than 40% natural habitat loss in the northwest and 10-20% in the south. Mean patch areas decreased by more than 75% and patch density increased over 20 times during the same period, indicating a high degree of fragmentation. Connectivity decreased by 5% between 1976 and 2005. Our results show the value of using landscape metrics to assess the impact of human activities within RAMSAR sites and how these activities can be used to encourage strategies, such as ecotourism, to promote landscape conservation.

Keywords : Bañados de Isoso; Fragmentation; Landscape ecology; Landscape metrics; RAMSAR sites.

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