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Long-term dynamics of a floodplain shallow lake in the Pantanal wetland: Is it all about climate?

Abstract: Hydrological variability over seasonal and multi-annual timescales strongly shapes the ecological structure and functioning of floodplain ecosystems. The current IPCC climate scenario foresees an increase in the frequency of extreme events. This, in conjunction with other anthropogenic disturbances (e.g., river regulation or land-use changes) poses a serious threat to the natural functioning of these ecosystems. In this study we aimed to i) evaluate the long-term variability of the flooded area of the third largest floodplain lake in the Brazilian Pantanal using remote sensing techniques, and ii) analyze the possible factors influencing this variability. Changes in open-water and riparian floodplain-wetland vegetation areas were mapped by applying an ad hoc-developed remote-sensing method (including a newly developed normalized water index, NWI) to 221 Landsat-Thematic Mapper (TM)/Enhanced Thematic Mapper Plus (ETM +) images, acquired between 1984 and 2011. Added to the lake's natural swing between riparian floodplain-wetland vegetation expansion and retraction, our analyses revealed large interannual changes, grouped into three main periods within the studied time interval. Moreover, our results indicate that this floodplain-lake system is losing open-water area, paired with an increase in riparian floodplain-wetland vegetation. The system's long-term dynamics are not all climate related, but are the result of a combination of drivers. The start of the Manso dam's operation upstream of the studied system, and the subsequent river regulation because of the dam operation, coupled with climatic oscillation appear to be responsible for the observed changes. However, other factors which were not considered in this study might also be important in this process and contributing to the reduction of the system's resilience to droughts (e.g., land-use changes). This study illustrates the serious conservation risks that the Pantanal faces in the near future, given the current climate-change scenario and the accumulation of dam building projects in this region.

 Fuente: Science of the Total Environment Volumes 605?606, 15 December 2017, Pages 527-540

 Editorial: Elsevier

 Fecha de publicación: 01/12/2017

 Nº de páginas: 14

 Tipo de publicación: Artículo de Revista

 DOI: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2017.06.183

 ISSN: 0048-9697,1879-1026

 Proyecto español: BIA2012-33572 ; CGL2006-10282/HID

 Url de la publicación: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2017.06.183