Forest Cover in Landscapes of the Middle Valley of Paraiba River

ABSTRACT The continuous replacement of forest covers for crops and urban areas changed most of the Atlantic Forest biome in Brazil. Hence, understanding the interaction between the forest cover, physical and anthropic factors in a landscape is essential in order to provide subsidies for sustainable land use. The present study aimed at investigating the influence of the altitude, declivity, and slope orientation on the forest cover of three landscapes in the municipality of Vassouras. In general, Vassouras showed fragmented forest covers, but we observed a landscape covered more by forests than pastures. Among the variables analyzed, altitude and declivity showed a positive relationship with forest cover. The analyzed landscapes were inserted in different socio-economical contexts, which can also affect the current forest cover distribution. The socio-environmental attributes of those landscapes are specific and their understanding can be strategic for environmental planning.