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They describe in depth the vegetation of Argentina

An investigation of the GRAPE reunited the bibliography available on the flora of our country and, with the help of satelite and crossed images to field, a novel map of all the territory elaborated. He is free, gratuitous and, among other things, it would serve in projects of environmental restoration.

From the European colonization, naturalistic and biologists they described to the vegetation of our country with little detailed maps and studies that gained complexity with time. Although available, these sources remained released until today. Scientists of the Faculty of Agronomy of UBA (FAUBA) published an integrated map of the flora of the Argentina, that divides to the territory in 50 units of vegetation and describes to its typical forms and species. The investigators hope that this new tool, frees and gratuitous, he is useful in initiatives of restoration of the atmosphere and to know better our geography.

€œThe new map describes to the spontaneous vegetation of Argentina €” species that grow without the need that they are cultivated, it indicated Mariano Oyarzabal, investigator of the Laboratory of Regional Analysis and Teledetecci³n (LART-FAUBA), and added: €œHe divides to the territory in 50 units of vegetation and summarizes for each his type of vegetation and his characteristic species. 

Mariano Oyarzabal Investigador

It will be a tool of great value to define our geography from the ecology and the agroecology€.

In this sense, the investigator explained that the map, published in the magazine Austral Ecology, will allow to face problems suitably as the change of the cover of the ground or the recent invasions of exotic species, and that it will be able to serve as reference in initiatives of ecological restoration. €œNow we can know what type of vegetation had in a region before outside removed or replaced. For example, if we wanted to reclaim the forest of colored quebracho, the map indicates to us until where it extended originally€.

€œThe work arose from a very practical question that the undersecretary did us in 2013 then of cattle ranch: How much I graze takes place in Argentina? It was clear that it was a key data that was lacking and that we had to consider it. Then, the work group of that I comprise in the Faculty began to investigate the subject€, shelp Oyarzabal, who also is educational of the Department of Quantitative Methods and Information systems of the FAUBA.

€œWe knew that many estimations of fodder supply for different places from the country existed, in addition to previous the fitogeogr¡ficos maps, generally imprecise, partial or incomplete. So the challenge us was to collect the data and to put it in a new map. The showy thing was that to collect the data to only it took a year us, whereas to complete the map demanded five to us€, commented.

The puzzle is complete

Oyarzabal told him to On the Earth that stops to make the map was key to be based on the previous cartography. €œWe leaned mainly in the map that ngel Cabrera published in 1976, since he divided all the Argentina in great fitogeogr¡ficos territories as the Shako, the Pampan Region, the Mesopot¡mica Region, etc. After Goatherd, many botanists and ecologists made maps of precise areas inside their territories. For example, some differentiated Austral Pampas and Depressed Pampas, and others separated the barren shako of the semi-arid one. Then, the greater problem was that, until the present, all that information was dispersed€.

The investigator emphasized that the objective was to make agree, as the pieces of a puzzle, all those maps in one only that included formation force with their vegetal subunits and characteristic species. As in many cases those pieces did not agree exactly with the other due to the particularitities of the different consulted sources, Oyarzabal and collaborators had to surpass an amount of difficulties.

€œWe realized of which discontinuities and inconsistencies existed. The discontinuities happened when, for example, an author described the Patagonia until the Colorado River and another one described the Pampan Region until the political limits of the provinces. We knew clearly that the discontinuity did not come from the vegetation but from authors with different approaches. We could correct it from satelite images and of the crossed ones of field that some authors had realised€. As far as inconsistencies, the investigator maintained that they happened when more of an author informed different characteristics for a same area or region. €œIt was necessary to solve each inconsistency precise. For example, while an investigator shelp that in a certain area there was a typical forest of the Chaque±a Region, another one affirmed that there was a pasture. Like in the discontinuities, also we used 

satelite images to define these situations and our knowledge of the vegetation compiled in relief trips€.

€œAfter all this work, we got to establish in an only map the 50 units of vegetation. We obtain that their limits agree and that, altogether, include the 100% of the country, in a cartographic scale of 1 in 20 million. In addition, our work includes a text that the form of the vegetation characteristic of each place describes and the set of species which they live there€, stood out with Oyarzabal satisfaction.

A free and gratuitous tool:

The map of Oyarzabal and collaborator represents a progress in relation to the previous cartography. In this sense, the scientist considered that €œone of the great advantages is that now we counted on a digitized map. Technically speaking, we have the digital map available online of free and gratuitous form. All the people who want to use the map can accede and unload it of the Web the detail with which we worked e, even, to print it in great size€. For Oyarzabal, the importance of having published the work in the magazine Austral Ecology, published by the Association Argentina de Ecolog­a, is that it is available of form opened for everybody. €œThe investigators we published in the magazine of gratuitous way and the readers can also read it without cost some. This is infrequent in the traditional scientific magazines, in which it stops to publish a map as ours, or for acced er to one already published, somebody must have phelp, and much€.

€œThe more we know of our vegetation, the more we know our geography and the more knowledge we have generally of the country. To know the flora is a way to understand better the geography of Argentina, because the vegetation acts as indicator of the atmosphere€, concluded.

AUTHOR By: Pablo A. Roset €“ Source FAUBA Communication