Identification of areas with high aboveground biomass and high species richness of the native forest at northeastern Uruguay




carbon stocks, biodiversity conservation, Sentinel-2, L-band SAR, texture analysis


The native forests of Uruguay provide important ecosystem services. Despite this, there are few maps with the spatial distribution of vegetation attributes in the country. The objective of this study was to obtain maps with the spatial distribution of aboveground biomass and species richness that show areas with high concentrations of both variables, essential for climate change mitigation and biodiversity conservation. The study area includes the Gondwanan Sedimentary Basin ecoregion. Generalized Linear Models were used to estimate aboveground biomass and tree species richness, where the response variables were calculated using field data from the National Forest Inventory. Whereas, the predictor variables were obtained with spectral and texture information derived from Sentinel-2, and ALOS PALSAR; as well as environmental, topography and climate data. The biomass estimation model presented an explained deviance (D2) of 0,25, while in the species richness model, the D2 was 0,19. To evaluate both models, cross-validations were carried out, obtaining an R2 of 0.25 for aboveground biomass and 0,19 for species richness, with a relative mean square error of 45,8 % and 32,5 % respectively. The bivariate map with the joint distribution of species richness and aboveground biomass shows that there is a positive correlation between both variables in 63,8 % of the native forest area of the ecoregion. The results of this work could be used for the maintenance of carbon stocks and for the conservation of biodiversity.


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