Analysis of vegetation changes in high Andean wetlands in southern Peru
- based on remotely sensed data sets
Bofedal-Andean wetland with grazing Alpaca
Wetlands of the high Andean mountains are exceptional ecosystems due to their hydrological
peat lands is situated in southern Peru, Bolivia and northern Chile and known as 'Bofedales'.
Bofedales provide a natural habitat which serve as characteristics in a surrounding arid
environment. This group of tropical grass land for South-American cameloids like Alpaca (Vicugna pacos)
as a domesticated form of wild South American cameloid Vicuña (Vicugna vicugna) and Guanaco
(Lama guanicoe). The study area includes some of the greatest Bofedales of southern Peru as part of
a national reserve (La Reserva Nacional Salinas y Aguada Blanca).One problem for reserve managers
and decision makers of communities is the need of low cost, current and accurate information upon
which they can base there decisions. Important questions are e.g.: "What are the effects of
pasturing, irrigation and drainage and how effective is protection of Bofedales?"
"What are the services which they provided and how could they be evaluated?"
The availability of no-cost data (e.g. MODIS) and automated data processing techniques can provide
a cost effective tool to answer those questions.
Landsat and Modis (NDVI)
The study shows that using high resolution data like Landsat ETM+ combined with elevation models
derived from SRTM data (Shuttle Radar Topography Mission) clearly improves existing wetland
classifications. It shows Bofedales as an inhomogeneous land cover type due to different
characteristics mostly depending on relief, geology and climate. To investigate this inhomogeneity
time analysis using the vegetation index (NDVI) is applied and compared with other vegetation
cover types situated in the same study area.
Dependencies between climate, hydrological conditions and changes of vegetation are examined by
using reanalyzed climate data sets combined with hydrologic models. Recommendations and conclusions
are aimed to emphasize the need for research because much more work is required to develop resource
management and conservation programs based on scientific research to ensure protection and sustainable
use of Bofedales and therefore to ensure the future livelihoods of the indigenous peoples who
depend on them.