Keywords: slopes, altitude, carrying capacity, environmental fragility, sustainable vegetation, environmental supply, vegetation coverage, height, strength, species diversity, ecological zoning, Andes, grasslands, manu biosphere reserve, Peru, grazing impact, remote sensing, digital elevation models, mapping, geographical information systems, GIS, sustainable development
Ecological zoning of an Andean grasslands (puna) at the manu biosphere reserve, Peru
In the Andean transition area the Manu Biosphere Reserve (MBR), in Peru, located within the Amazon basin, there are natural grasslands which are suffering from human impact, due to heavy grazing activities, jeopardising their Carrying Capacity (CC). To minimise this impact, it was found necessary to understand the participation of the environmental variables and the anthropogenic activities generating zone of homogeneous areas so as to ultimately form a management plan. To achieve this goal, those variables were combined, taking into account their spatial arrangement, using geoprocessing techniques. Remote Sensing images were used to produce the land use thematic map and topographic maps were also used to produce a Digital Elevation Model (DEM). Biotic and abiotic parameters were transformed into maps within a Geographical Information Systems (GIS) environment to produce an ecological zoning map. The zoning classes were related to CC and sustainability of the grasslands, and were expressed in maps with 23 sampling units.