Articles | Volume 10, issue 5
03 May 2010
 | 03 May 2010

Spatial dynamics of Fabiana imbricata shrublands in northwestern Patagonia in relation to natural fires

F. J. Oddi, N. Dudinszky, and L. Ghermandi

Abstract. Fire is a critical disturbance in the structuring and functioning of most Mediterranean ecosystems. In northwestern Patagonia, vegetation patterns are strongly influenced by fire and environmental heterogeneity. Dendroecology, together with satellite imagery and GIS, have been demonstrated to be useful tools in studies that relate to fire effects with patches, patterns and species dynamics at landscape scale. Such studies can be approached from landscape ecology, which has evolved in the last years supported by the development of remote sensing and GIS technologies. This study evaluates the spatial dynamic of F. imbricata in response to fire using remote sensing, GIS and dendrochronology techniques, at landscape scale. Two sites were evaluated and one of them was affected by fire in the year 1999. The digital processing images (using the NBR spectral index) and the dendroecological analysis verified this. A fire, occurring in 1978, was also detected by the analysis of F. imbricata growth rings. The relation between F. imbricata shrubland dynamics and spatial configuration with fire, land topography and hydrography was established in the study area.