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Open AccessArticle

Spatial Analysis of Temperate Forest Structure: A Geostatistical Approach to Natural Forest Potential

1
Facultad de Zootecnia y Ecología, Universidad Autónoma de Chihuahua, Periférico Francisco R. Almada Km. 1, Chihuahua, Chihuahua 31453, Mexico
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Facultad de Ciencias Agrotecnológicas, Universidad Autónoma de Chihuahua, Ave. Pascual Orozco s/n, Campus 1, Chihuahua, Chihuahua 31350, Mexico
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Forests 2019, 10(2), 168; https://doi.org/10.3390/f10020168
Received: 18 January 2019 / Revised: 13 February 2019 / Accepted: 14 February 2019 / Published: 16 February 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Forest Landscape Management: From Data to Decision)
Forest ecosystems represent an important means of ecosystem services; they are key as carbon sinks, water collectors, soil stabilizers, suppliers of great biological diversity, among other benefits. In addition, regionalization based on forest conditions provides a valuable approach to understanding and analyzing spatial patterns, which is useful as a tool for the implementation of forest ecosystem protection and conservation programs. In this research, the structure of a temperate forest in the western Sierra Madre region of Mexico was analyzed and characterized. The study unit was the watershed and the analysis used a geospatial approach combined with multivariate techniques such as: Principal Component Analysis, Cluster Analysis (CA), Discriminant Analysis (DA) and Multivariate Analysis of Variance. We evaluated the relationships among spectral satellite data, thematic maps and structural forest variables. A total of 345 watersheds were grouped based on these variables. The grouping of watersheds under low, medium and high production conditions was carried out with CA, defining 3 groups. The validation of the grouping was performed through DA, estimating errors with the restitution method, as well as with the cross-validation method. Significant differences were found among the groups. The grouping of watersheds provides observable evidence of the variability of the forest condition throughout the area. This study allows identifying forest areas with different levels of productivity and can help to detect levels of vulnerability and ecological fragility in natural forests in temperate zones. View Full-Text
Keywords: multivariate analysis; watershed; landsat; classification; GIS; forest structure; regionalization; spatial clustering multivariate analysis; watershed; landsat; classification; GIS; forest structure; regionalization; spatial clustering
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Prieto-Amparán, J.A.; Santellano-Estrada, E.; Villarreal-Guerrero, F.; Martinez-Salvador, M.; Pinedo-Alvarez, A.; Vázquez-Quintero, G.; Valles-Aragón, M.C.; Manjarrez-Domínguez, C. Spatial Analysis of Temperate Forest Structure: A Geostatistical Approach to Natural Forest Potential. Forests 2019, 10, 168.

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