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Land 2016, 5(2), 12; doi:10.3390/land5020012

Using Remote Sensing and Random Forest to Assess the Conservation Status of Critical Cerrado Habitats in Mato Grosso do Sul, Brazil

1
Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, 1500 Remount Road, Front Royal, VA 22630, USA
2
Giant Armadillo Conservation Program, Royal Zoological Society of Scotland, Edinburgh Zoo, Scotland EH126TS, UK
3
Programa de Pós-Graduação em Ecologia e Conservação, Universidade Federal do Mato Grosso do Sul, Campo Grande 79070900, Brazil
4
Corporación para Investigaciones Biológicas, No. 78 B 141, Carrera 72 A, Medellín, Colombia
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Harini Nagendra
Received: 3 March 2016 / Revised: 10 May 2016 / Accepted: 11 May 2016 / Published: 19 May 2016
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Abstract

Brazil’s Cerrado is a highly diverse ecosystem and it provides critical habitat for many species. Cerrado habitats have suffered significant degradation and decline over the past decades due to expansion of cash crops and livestock farming across South America. Approximately 1,800,000 km2 of the Cerrado remain in Brazil, but detailed maps and conservation assessments of the Cerrado are lacking. We developed a land cover classification for the Cerrado, focusing on the state of Mato Grosso do Sul, which may also be used to map critical habitat for endangered species. We used a Random Forest algorithm to perform a supervised classification on a set of Landsat 8 images. To determine habitat fragmentation for the Cerrado, we used Fragstats. A habitat connectivity analysis was performed using Linkage Mapper. Our final classification had an overall accuracy of 88%. Our classification produced higher accuracies (72%) in predicting Cerrado than existing government maps. We found that remaining Cerrado habitats were severely fragmented. Four potential corridors were identified in the southwest of Mato Grosso do Sul, where large Cerrado patches are located. Only two large patches remain in Mato Grosso do Sul: one within the Kadiwéu Indian Reserve, and one near the southeastern edge of the Pantanal-dominated landscape. These results are alarming for rare species requiring larger tracts of habitat such as the giant armadillo (Priodontes maximus). View Full-Text
Keywords: Brazil; Cerrado; random forest; giant armadillo; Mato Grosso do Sul; remote sensing Brazil; Cerrado; random forest; giant armadillo; Mato Grosso do Sul; remote sensing
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

Reynolds, J.; Wesson, K.; Desbiez, A.L.J.; Ochoa-Quintero, J.M.; Leimgruber, P. Using Remote Sensing and Random Forest to Assess the Conservation Status of Critical Cerrado Habitats in Mato Grosso do Sul, Brazil. Land 2016, 5, 12.

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