Relief Influence on the Spatial Distribution of the Atlantic Forest Cover on the Ibiúna Plateau, SP

Braz J Biol. 2007 Aug;67(3):403-11. doi: 10.1590/s1519-69842007000300004.


Several studies suggest that, on a large scale, relief conditions influence the Atlantic Forest cover. The aim of this work was to explore these relationships on a local scale, in Caucaia do Alto, on the Ibiúna Plateau. Within an area of about 78 km(2), the distribution of forest cover, divided into two successional stages, was associated with relief attribute data (slope, slope orientation and altitude). The mapping of the vegetation was based on the interpretation of stereoscopic pairs of aerial photographs, from April 2000, on a scale of 1:10,000, while the relief attributes were obtained by geoprocessing from digitalized topographic maps on a scale of 1:10,000. Statistical analyses, based on qui-square tests, revealed that there was a more extensive forest cover, irrespective of the successional stage, in steeper areas (>10 degrees) located at higher altitudes (>923 m), but no influence of the slope orientation. There was no sign of direct influence of relief on the forest cover through environmental gradients that might have contributed to the forest regeneration. Likewise, there was no evidence that these results could have been influenced by the distance from roads or urban areas or with respect to permanent preservation areas. Relief seems to influence the forest cover indirectly, since agricultural land use is preferably made in flatter and lower areas. These results suggest a general distribution pattern of the forest remnants, independent of the scale of study, on which relief indirectly has a strong influence, since it determines human occupation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Altitude*
  • Brazil
  • Environmental Monitoring / methods*
  • Humans
  • Population Density
  • Population Dynamics
  • Trees*