, Volume 87, Issue 4, pp 881-890
Date: 27 Feb 2013

Modeling tree cover changes in a pasture-dominated landscape by adopting silvopastoral practices in a dry forest region in Central Brazil

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Pastures are a major soil cover in Central Brazil, especially in rich soils previously occupied by dry forests. We simulated a scenario in which the wooden fences in Paranã Valley are replaced by live fences and isolated trees are left in the pasture fields, and we verified changing in tree cover by adding trees and avoiding logging for wooden fences. The simulation involved the analysis of a 20-year historic series of LANDSAT satellite images to determine the average time of pasture renewal. The average amount of wooden fences produced per hectare of local forest was estimated based on the literature and field data. The high spatial-resolution satellite images available in the Google Earth™ program were analyzed to estimate the total length of the fences and the average and maximum number of isolated trees per hectare found in the pastures of the region. The results showed that pasture renewal happens every 8.1 years. It is possible to produce an average of 1,472 stakes per hectare of forest. In the study area, we estimated the existence of an average of 842 km of wooden fences and 3.9 isolated trees per hectare of pasture (maximum = 48 isolated trees). The results of the simulation showed that the adoption of live fences can increase the crown coverage up to 7.5 % or even up to 14.3 % if all of the pasturelands are managed to have live fences and farmers begin to adopt cover-development practices, such as keeping an average of 48 isolated trees per hectare of pasture.