Defining environmental conservation levels considering anthropic activity in the Uberaba River Basin protected area
Abstract Environmental conservation of river basins in general is essential for water quality and ecological maintenance, especially in spring areas. Despite being characterized as a Conservation Unit (CU) of Sustainable Use (SU), the Uberaba River Basin highlands are highly influenced by anthropic activities. The aim of this study was to determine different levels of conservation required to maintain environmental quality. The Multicriteria evaluation method was used as follows: i) applied fuzzy membership functions to standardization of the continuous data values or reclassified when categorical criteria; (ii) established criteria ranking through the pairwise relative importance comparison approach by the Analytical Hierarchy Process (AHP) method and; (iii) performed Weighted Linear Combination (WLC). The selected criteria were maps of the: land cover obtained by supervised classification of a satellite image, with 94% of Kappa Index of Agreement (KIA); soil types, slope; distances from rivers, roads; railways and urban limits. A main outcome of the criteria evaluated is a map of continuous data values expressing distinct levels of environmental conservation requirements. The highest values that express the need for conservation occurred near the ridgetop, corresponding to forest land cover, high slope and hydromorphic soils. The lowest values were observed in the peri-urban areas, in more stable soil and soil cover with a higher degree of occupation. It is concluded that the resulting map can assist in decision-making regarding proper management of the area, to achieve sustainability in the application of occupation policies.