Structural analysis of a fragmented area in Minas Gerais State, Brazil

Abstract The theory of landscape ecology applied to the methods of spatial analysis helps to understand changes in the structure of forest remnants. In view of this theory, the objective of the present study was to analyze the structure of a fragmented area between the years 1979 and 2015 through calculation of landscape metrics for arboreal, shrubby and herbaceous vegetation classes. Vegetation classes were classified with visits to the field, interpretation of aerial photographs from 1979 and supervised classification of Landsat 8 from 2015. The metrics calculated for each class were area and total number of fragments, total edge and average connectivity among the fragments. The analysis of structure found that it changed negatively due to an increase in the number of small fragments, which increased the intensity of edge effects and reduced connectivity between fragments for all classes.