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Remote Sens. 2017, 9(7), 712; doi:10.3390/rs9070712

Assessment of Land Use-Cover Changes and Successional Stages of Vegetation in the Natural Protected Area Altas Cumbres, Northeastern Mexico, Using Landsat Satellite Imagery

1
Instituto Tecnológico de Ciudad Victoria, Boulevard Emilio Portes Gil No. 1301, C.P. 87010 Ciudad Victoria, Tamaulipas, Mexico
2
Centro Universitario Victoria, Facultad de Ingeniería y Ciencias, Universidad Autónoma de Tamaulipas, C.P. 87149 Ciudad Victoria, Tamaulipas, Mexico
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Parth Sarathi Roy and Lars T. Waser
Received: 20 May 2017 / Revised: 30 June 2017 / Accepted: 8 July 2017 / Published: 11 July 2017
(This article belongs to the Section Forest Remote Sensing)
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Abstract

Loss of vegetation cover is a major factor that endangers biodiversity. Therefore, the use of geographic information systems and the analysis of satellite images are important for monitoring these changes in Natural Protected Areas (NPAs). In northeastern Mexico, the Natural Protected Area Altas Cumbres (NPAAC) represents a relevant floristic and faunistic patch on which the impact of loss of vegetation cover has not been assessed. This work aimed to analyze changes of land use and coverage (LULCC) over the last 42 years on the interior and around the exterior of the area, and also to propose the time of succession for the most important types of vegetation. For the analysis, LANDSAT satellite images from 1973, 1986, 2000, 2005 and 2015 were used, they were classified in seven categories through a segmentation and maximum likelihood analysis. A cross-tabulation analysis was performed to determine the succession gradient. Towards the interior of the area, a significant reduction of tropical vegetation and, to a lesser extent, temperate forests was found, as well as an increase in scrub cover from 1973 to 2015. In addition, urban and vegetation-free areas, as well as modified vegetation, increased to the exterior. Towards the interior of the NPA, the processes of perturbation and recovery were mostly not linear, while in the exterior adjacent area, the presence of secondary vegetation with distinct definite time of succession was evident. The analysis carried out is the first contribution that evaluates LULCC in this important NPA of northeastern Mexico. Results suggest the need to evaluate the effects of these modifications on species. View Full-Text
Keywords: disturbance; land use and cover change; Landsat; vegetation; secondary succession; chronosequence; Natural Protected Area; Mexico; Tamaulipas disturbance; land use and cover change; Landsat; vegetation; secondary succession; chronosequence; Natural Protected Area; Mexico; Tamaulipas
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Sánchez-Reyes, U.J.; Niño-Maldonado, S.; Barrientos-Lozano, L.; Treviño-Carreón, J. Assessment of Land Use-Cover Changes and Successional Stages of Vegetation in the Natural Protected Area Altas Cumbres, Northeastern Mexico, Using Landsat Satellite Imagery. Remote Sens. 2017, 9, 712.

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