Dynamics of vegetation structure in a fragmented landscape in Minas Gerais, Brazil

Abstract Considering that area and edge effects are the most important factors that lead to landscape changes from the fragmentation of terrestrial communities, the present study aimed to analyze changes in the structure of vegetation classes of a fragmented landscape. The methodology employed was based on a model of patch dynamics for the years between 1979 and 2015. The analysis was performed with quantitative (area, shape and edge effect) and qualitative (low declivity of the terrain, fire resistance and tolerance to variation in light) variables of the classes of vegetation. Processes of retraction and expansion of the vegetation classes were identified, as well as the alteration of the structure of the fragments, which resulted in the intensification of the edge effect.