The impact of recent land-use change in the Araucaria araucana forest in northern Patagonia

Moreno-Gonzalez, Ricardo; Giesecke, Thomas; Fontana, Sonia L.


Land-use change in the form of extensive Pinus plantations is currently altering the natural vegetation cover at the forest-steppe ecotone in northern Patagonia. Providing recommendations for conservation efforts, with respect to this recent and earlier land-use changes, requires a longer time perspective. Using pollen analysis, we investigated to what degree the colonization of the area by Euro-American settlers changed the forest composition and the vegetation cover, and to explore the spread of the European weed Rumex acetosella. This study is based on short sediment cores from six lakes in the Araucaria araucana forest region, across the vegetation gradient from the forest to the steppe. Results document that although Araucaria araucana has been extensively logged elsewhere, near the investigated sites, populations were rather stable and other elements of the vegetation changed little with the initiation of Euro-American settlements. A reduction of Nothofagus dombeyi-type pollen occurred at some sites presumably due to logging Nothofagus dombeyi trees, while toward the steppe, Nothofagus antarctica shrubs may have been removed for pasture. The appearance of Rumex acetosella pollen is consistent with the initiation of land use by Euro-American settlers in all cores, probably indicating the onset of animal farming. The rise of the Rumex acetosella pollen curve during the 1950s marks more recent land-use change. These observations indicate that the spread and local expansion of the weed requires disturbance. Overall, the study shows that the initial colonization of the area by Euro-American settlers had little effect on the natural vegetation structure, while developments since the 1950s are strongly altering the natural vegetation cover.

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Título según WOS: ID WOS:000530017200001 Not found in local WOS DB
Título de la Revista: HOLOCENE
Volumen: 30
Número: 8
Fecha de publicación: 2020
Página de inicio: 1101
Página final: 1114


Notas: ISI