The impact of forestry, agriculture, and cattle grazing activities on the quality of landscape in a transect of southern Chile
- This study is centered on the concept of 'visual landscape', based upon two central factors, aesthetics and the observer's capacity of perception of the landscape. The landscape in southern Chile has been transformed over the past centuries, and particularly in recent decades. This transformation is a product of forestry, agriculture and cattle grazing activities; this study attempts to evaluate the landscape quality in a north-south transect of 587 km, along Chile's 5 South highway extending from Cabrero to Puerto Montt. Landscape Units (Unidades de Paisaje, UP) were established, quantified and evaluated by a mixed method with direct valuation of the representative subjectivity and subsequent indirect analysis, with analysis of components. A total of 1,702 Landscape Units (UP) were analyzed, concluding that the most frequent macro-units are: Visual Obstruction, Native Vegetation, Agriculture Cultivation, and Artificial Plantations. The general average was 11.57 VP (SD = 5.01), considered acceptable in the Fines scale. The macro-units of highest value were: Native Vegetation and Agriculture Cultivation, and those with lowest value were: Visual Obstruction and Artificial Plantations. Information was compiled about the frequency of the macro-units per sector and the evaluation of 42 sub-units of landscape value, 22 Landscape Units (UP) and four macro-units. This paper discusses the different valuations, the historical evolution of landscapes in southern Chile, and alternative propositions of mitigation in Landscape Units of low evaluation. This evaluation may be compared with future evaluations in order to quantify losses (or gains) of landscape, its destructive agents and mitigating measures.