The Use of High-Resolution Historical Images to Analyse the Leopard Pattern in the Arid Area of La Alta Guajira, Colombia

A recent review of global arid areas supports the idea that there are two patterns to vegetation in arid lands. Patches of thick vegetation alternate with those with much less vegetation or none at all. There is a specific size, shape and spatial distribution that characterizes vegetation patterns in arid land ecosystems. In some places, the patches have irregular shapes; these are called spots or Leopard bush. This research project is based on a biophysical approach that integrates information collected in the field, high resolution historical satellite images and Geographical Information System technology. The results revealed that there were certain places in the landscape that facilitate the singular development of the vegetation. The Leopard pattern results from the interaction of various factors (fertility island, fragmentation of vegetation, anthropic influence, herbivorism). Specific characteristics that limit plant life forms are found in the area; since only certain resistant species develop, these form associations and in turn generate strategies to optimize resources. Eventually, this equilibrium is disturbed by human activities in the shape of ungulate livestock breeding and anthropogenic activities, resulting in a heterogeneity of soils and vegetation whose interaction generates the pattern ​
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