EGU2020-9561, updated on 07 Jun 2021
EGU General Assembly 2020
© Author(s) 2021. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Soil-landscape patterns and fractal parameters of deforestation: a case study of Continental Ecuador Biosphere Reserves.

Andrea Urgilez-Clavijo1,2,3, Ana Tarquis3,4, David Rivas-Tabares4, and Juan de la Riva1
Andrea Urgilez-Clavijo et al.
  • 1Dpto. de Geografía y Ordenación del Territorio (GEOFOREST Group, University Institute of Research in Environmental Sciences - IUCA), Universidad de Zaragoza , Spain
  • 2Instituto de Estudios de Régimen Seccional del Ecuador - IERSE, Universidad del Azuay, Ecuador (
  • 3Grupo de Sistemas Complejos. Universidad Politecnica de Madrid, Madrid, Spain.
  • 4CEIGRAM, ETSIAAB, Universidad Politecnica de Madrid, Madrid, Spain (

The complex dynamics of changes in land use and land cover at different scales cause changes in the composition and configuration of the landscape. Deforestation, mainly caused by the transformation of forest to agricultural land, has been one of the most representative changes in recent years worldwide. In Ecuador, this transformation has occurred in different areas of the country, even in those areas declared by UNESCO as biosphere reserves (BRs), endangering the diversity of ecosystems and species existing within each of them. In this context, the identification of patterns, trajectories and magnitudes associated with the deforestation process in the BR areas is essential for the management, conservation and even evaluation of the protection effectiveness of these areas. We analyze the changes in land cover produced between 1990 and 2016 in the Sumaco and Bosque Seco BRs belonging to continental Ecuador, as well as the patterns associated with the deforestation process that occurred in that period. The quantification of land cover changes was performed using a cross-tabulation-table and their spatial location was done through a cross-classification image. The patterns were characterized using landscape ecology metrics and their nature described through multifractal analysis. In addition, the scales at which self-similarity characteristics are detected were identified by lacunarity analysis. The results show that there are three patterns associated with deforestation processes, (1) regrowth of preexisting patches without fusion of the adjacent patches, (2) Regrowth and fusion of preexisting patches and (3) the appearance of new deforested patches. In addition, the multifractal nature of the deforested structure was verified and characteristics of self-similarity at parroquia scale were identified.


This work was supported by the Program of University of Zaragoza-Santander for Ibero633 Americans in Doctorate studies. Second author acknowledges support from Project No. 634 PGC2018-093854-B-I00 of the Spanish Ministerio de Ciencia Innovación y Universidades of Spain and to the Comunidad de Madrid (Spain) and Structural Funds 2014–2020 (ERDF and ESF) project AGRISOST-CM S2018/BAA-4330. We are also grateful to University of Azuay and Ministry of Environment of Ecuador for providing data and resources for the development of this academic work.

How to cite: Urgilez-Clavijo, A., Tarquis, A., Rivas-Tabares, D., and de la Riva, J.: Soil-landscape patterns and fractal parameters of deforestation: a case study of Continental Ecuador Biosphere Reserves., EGU General Assembly 2020, Online, 4–8 May 2020, EGU2020-9561,, 2020.


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