The Cerrado biome is the most floristically diverse savanna in the world and the second largest biome over South America, located in the Central Plateau of Brazil. This biome is considered a conservation hotspot in respect to its biodiversity importance and rapid landscape transformation. The Cerrado is currently the major agricultural frontier in Brazil and one of the most threatened Brazilian biomes. In terms of biodiversity, the Cerrado is home of about 48% of Brazil’s avifauna. The Hyacinth Macaw (Anodorhynchus hyacinthinus) is the largest Psittacidae in the world inhabiting savannas and forest ecosystems across South America. This is a vulnerable species that is almost extinct in the Cerrado, especially due to habitat loss and illegal trade. This study aims to provide more information on vegetation types and habitat suitability analysis of the Hyacinth Macaw in one of the Cerrado’s priority areas for conservation. Remote sensing and high spatial resolution imagery were used to provide detailed information of the major physiognomic types present in the study area. Habitat Suitability Index model was used in this study to spatially represent potential suitable habitats of the Hyacinth Macaw across the study site through environmental variables known to most influence the species occurrence.
This study was held in the priority area for conservation “Rio de Ondas”, western Bahia State, Brazil. This region is composed by a mixture of savanna, grassland and forest ecosystems. High spatial resolution imagery improved discriminating the Cerrado’s major physiognomic types, refining information for this area. Combining pixel-based and object-based remote sensing classification methods helped to improve map accuracy for savanna ecosystems. Habitat Suitability Index (HSI) model is one of the most popular and simplest method of Wildlife Habitat-Relationship Models. HSI proved to be efficient for this analysis due to its simplicity and lack of field data requirements, which is not available in this specific area. Specific species of palm trees and cliff areas located across the study site makes this an important area for the Hyacinth Macaw. Information on slope, elevation and vegetation types are the environmental variables found to most contribute to the identification of suitable habitats for this species.