Spatial patterns of land use changes across a mediterranean metropolitan landscape: Implications for biodiversity management

Basnou C., Alvarez E., Bagaria G., Guardiola M., Isern R., Vicente P., Pino J. (2013) Spatial patterns of land use changes across a mediterranean metropolitan landscape: Implications for biodiversity management. Environmental Management. 52: 971-980.
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Doi: 10.1007/s00267-013-0150-5

Resum:

Land use and land cover change (LUCC) is an acknowledged cause of the current biodiversity crisis, but the link between LUCC and biodiversity conservation remains largely unknown at the regional scale, especially due to the traditional lack of consistent biodiversity data. We provide a methodological approach for assessing this link through defining a set of major pressures on biodiversity from LUCC and evaluating their extent, distribution, and association with a set of physical factors. The study was performed in the Metropolitan Region of Barcelona (MRB, NE of Spain) between 1956 and 2000. We generated a LUCC map for the time period, which was reclassified into a set of pressures on biodiversity (forestation, deforestation, crop abandonment, and urbanization). We then explored the association of these pressures with a set of physical factors using redundancy analysis (RDA). Pressures encompassed 38.8 % of the MRB area. Urbanization and forestation were the dominating pressures, followed by crop abandonment and deforestation. RDA showed a significant distribution gradient of these pressures in relation to the studied physical factors: while forestation and deforestation are concentrated in remote mountain areas, urbanization mainly occurs in lowlands and especially on the coast, and close to previous urban centers and roads. Unchanged areas are concentrated in rainy and relatively remote mountain areas. Results also showed a dramatic loss of open habitats and of the traditional land use gradient, both featuring Mediterranean landscapes and extremely important for their biodiversity conservation. Implications of these results for biodiversity management are finally discussed. © 2013 Springer Science+Business Media New York.

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Quantifying the landscape influence on plant invasions in Mediterranean coastal habitats

González-Moreno P., Pino J., Carreras D., Basnou C., Fernández-Rebollar I., Vilà M. (2013) Quantifying the landscape influence on plant invasions in Mediterranean coastal habitats. Landscape Ecology. 28: 891-903.
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Doi: 10.1007/s10980-013-9857-1

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Landscape pattern might be an important determinant of non-native plant invasions because it encompasses components influencing the availability of non-native plant propagules and disturbance regimes. We aimed at exploring the relative role of patch and landscape characteristics, compared to those of habitat type and regional human influence on non-native plant species richness. For this purpose, we identified all non-native plant species in 295 patches of four coastal habitat types across three administrative regions in NE Spain differing in the degree of human influence. For each patch, we calculated several variables reflecting habitat patch geometry (size and shape), landscape composition (distribution of land-cover categories) and landscape configuration (arrangement of patches). The last two groups of variables were calculated at five different spatial extents. Landscape composition was by far the most important group of variables associated with non-native species richness. Natural areas close to diverse and urban landscapes had a high number of non-native species while surrounding agricultural areas could buffer this effect. Regional human influence was also strongly associated with non-native species richness while habitat type was the least important factor. Differences in sensitivity of landscape variables across spatial extents proved relevant, with 100 m being the most influential extent for most variables. These results suggest that landscape characteristics should be considered for performing explicit spatial risk analyses of plant invasions. Consequently, the management of invaded habitats should focus not only at the stand scale but also at the highly influential neighbouring landscape. Prior to incorporate landscape characteristics into management decisions, sensitivity analyses should be taken into account to avoid inconsistent variables. © 2013 Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht.

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Assessing land-use and -cover changes in relation to geographic factors and urban planning in the metropolitan area of Concepción (Chile). Implications for biodiversity conservation

Rojas C., Pino J., Basnou C., Vivanco M. (2013) Assessing land-use and -cover changes in relation to geographic factors and urban planning in the metropolitan area of Concepción (Chile). Implications for biodiversity conservation. Applied Geography. 39: 93-103.
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Doi: 10.1016/j.apgeog.2012.12.007

Resum:

The conservation of biodiversity in Latin American metropolitan areas is threatened by the intense land-use and -cover change. Assessing the overall biodiversity changes in entire regions faces with the traditional lack of consistent biodiversity data. This work aims at contributing to this assessment through a set of major pressures to biodiversity defined from land-use and -cover changes, and evaluating their extent, distribution and correlations with geographical variables. The study was performed in the framework of the Metropolitan Urban Plan of Concepción (MUPC, Chile). Land-use and -cover maps were obtained through image classification for the years 2000 and 2010, before and after the MUPC approval, and combined in a land-use and -cover change (LUCC) map. A set of pressures to biodiversity (natural and artificial forestation, deforestation, agricultural abandonment and expansion, and urbanization) was obtained from reclassifying the LUCC map. The correlations of these pressures with a set of geographical variables were assessed using canonical ordination methods. Finally, a preliminary forecast analysis of the effects of the MUPC was performed by combining the land-use and -cover map of 2010 with the urban-extension areas of the plan.Results showed that, in only 10 years, 57% of the Concepción Metropolitan Area (CMA) was affected by land-use and -cover changes, and 48% was affected by the pressures to biodiversity. Artificial forestation and deforestation were the dominant pressures, followed by agricultural abandonment and urbanization. The geographical distribution of pressures during the 2000-2010 period also contributed to affect the conservation of biodiversity and the sustainable management of the CMA. Indeed, natural forestation occurred close to urbanization, thus threatening the ecological integrity of native forests, while artificial forestation, deforestation and agricultural abandonment took place in steeply areas thus increasing landslide risk. Despite urbanization was not the most relevant pressure in the short studied period, urban development planned in the MUPC would determine an overall increase of 60% in the built-up area of the CMA, mostly affecting brushwood and forest plantations but also native forest and wetlands. Implications of these results for the strategic environmental assessment (SEA) and the sustainable management of Latin American metropolis are finally discussed. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.

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