Applications of geographic information systems and remote sensing techniques to conservation of amphibians in northwestern Ecuador

Mariela Palacios González, Elisa Bonaccorso, Monica Papeş

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations

Abstract

The biodiversity of the Andean Chocó in western Ecuador and Colombia is threatened by anthropogenic changes in land cover. The main goal of this study was to contribute to conservation of 12 threatened species of amphibians at a cloud forest site in northwestern Ecuador, by identifying and proposing protection of critical areas. We used Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and remote sensing techniques to quantify land cover changes over 35 years and outline important areas for amphibian conservation. We performed a supervised classification of an IKONOS satellite image from 2011 and two aerial photographs from 1977 and 2000. The 2011 IKONOS satellite image classification was used to delineate areas important for conservation of threatened amphibians within a 200 m buffer around rivers and streams. The overall classification accuracy of the three images was ≥80%. Forest cover was reduced by 17% during the last 34 years. However, only 50% of the study area retained the initial (1977) forest cover, as land was cleared for farming and eventually reforested. Finally, using the 2011 IKONOS satellite image, we delineated areas of potential conservation interest that would benefit the long term survival of threatened amphibian species at the Ecuadorian cloud forest site studied.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)562-574
Number of pages13
JournalGlobal Ecology and Conservation
Volume3
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2015
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Amphibian decline
  • Cloud forest
  • Land cover change
  • Land cover classification
  • Remote sensing
  • Restoration and conservation

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