Advertisement

Journal of Mountain Science

, Volume 11, Issue 2, pp 544–554 | Cite as

Decline of traditional landscape in a protected area of the southwestern Alps: The fate of enclosed pasture patches in the land mosaic shift

  • Matteo GarbarinoEmail author
  • Emanuele Sibona
  • Emanuele Lingua
  • Renzo Motta
Article

Abstract

Traditional landscape elements such as pasture patches enclosed in a forest matrix are progressively disappearing throughout the European Alps. We assessed the land mosaic shift of a protected area located in the western Italian Alps. In particular, the dynamics of pasture patches were studied at both landscape and stand level. Land-cover mapping through object-oriented analysis of historical aerial photographs was used to assess land-cover changes between 1954 and 2000. Spatial statistics were used to quantify landscape patterns, and field samplings within pasture patches were used to explore tree regeneration structure and composition. Our results showed a significant increase in the number of pasture patches caused by their fragmentation following forest expansion. The total surface area of pasture patches decreased by 43% and their core area decreased by 94%. The encroachment of trees on less accessible areas of the pasture patches caused a reduction of patch shape at landscape scale. The gap filling process started 40–50 years ago and began with an early invasion of light demanding species like sycamore maple (Acer pseudoplatanus L.) and common ash (Fraxinus excelsior L.), followed by European beech (Fagus sylvatica L.) and secondarily silver fir (Abies alba Mill.). Traditional land-use and population decline in the Pesio Valley led to a reduction in ecotone areas. A transition to a more homogeneous landscape is expected in the next decades. Given the cultural and productive nature of these mountain meadow-pasture communities, extensive livestock grazing systems could be used to manage their future conservation.

Keywords

Landscape structure Secondary succession Historical ecology Pesio Valley Traditional land-use 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Alberti G, Peressotti A, Piussi P, et al. (2009) Structure and stand development of secondary forests in Eastern Prealps (Italy). Dendrochronologia 27(3): 173–181. DOI: 10.1016/j.dendro.2008.02.002.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bargioni E, Zanzi Sulli A (1996) The production of fodder trees in Valdagno, Vicenza, Italy. In Kirby K J and Watkins C (eds.), The ecological history of European forests. Wallingford, UK. pp 43–52.Google Scholar
  3. Bätzing W, Perlik M, Dekleva M (1996) Urbanization and depopulation in the Alps: an analysis of current social-economic structural changes. Mountain Research and Development 16: 335–350. DOI: 10.2307/3673985.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Borcard D, Legendre P, Drapeau P (1992) Partialling out the spatial component of ecological variation. Ecology 73(3): 1045–1055. DOI: 10.2307/1940179.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bracchetti L, Carotenuto L, Catorci A (2012) Land-cover changes in a remote area of central Apennines (Italy) and management directions. Landscape and Urban Planning 104(2): 157–170. DOI: 10.1016/j.landurbplan.2011.09.005.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Burgi M, Gimmi U, Stuber M (2013) Assessing traditional knowledge on forest uses to understand forest ecosystem dynamics. Forest Ecology and Management 289: 115–122. DOI: 10.1016/j.foreco.2012.10.012.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Chauchard S, Carcaillet C, Guibal F (2007) Patterns of land-use abandonment control tree-recruitment and forest dynamics in Mediterranean mountains. Ecosystems 10(6): 936–948. DOI: 10.1007/s10021-007-9065-4.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Clark JS (1991) Disturbance and population structure on the shifting mosaic landscape. Ecology 72(3): 1119–1137. DOI: 10.2307/1940610.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Congalton RG (1991) A review of assessing the accuracy of classification of remotely sensed data. Remote Sensing of Environment 37: 35–46.DOI:10.1016/0034-4257(91)90048-B.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Cousins SAO, Lavorel S, Davies I (2003) Modelling the effects of landscape pattern and grazing regimes on the persistence of plant species with high conservation value in grasslands in south-eastern Sweden. Landscape Ecology 18: 315–332. DOI: 10.1023/A:1024400913488.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Cushman SA, McGarigal K, Neel MC (2008) Parsimony in landscape metrics: Strength, universality, and consistency. Ecological Indicators 8(5): 691–703. DOI:10.1016/j.ecolind.2007.12.002.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. De Beaulieu JL (1977). Pollen analytical contribution to the history of Late Glacial and Holocene vegetation of southern French Alps (Contribution Pollenanalytique A L’histoire Tardiglaciaire Et Holocene De La Vegetation Des Alpes Meridionales Francaises). PhD Thesis, University of Aix-Marseille, France.Google Scholar
  13. Definiens (2004) eCognition Professional 4.0. Munchen, Germany. Imaging D.Google Scholar
  14. Dullinger S, Dirnböck T, Greimler J, et al. (2003) A resampling approach for evaluating effects of pasture abandonment on subalpine plant species diversity. Journal of Vegetation Science 14: 243–252. DOI: 10.1111/j.1654-1103.2003.tb02149.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Duncan RP (1989) An evaluation of errors in tree age estimates based on increment cores in Kahikatea (Dacrycarpus Dacrydioides). New Zealand Natural Sciences 16: 31–37.Google Scholar
  16. Falcucci A, Maiorano L, Boitani L (2007) Changes in landuse/land-cover patterns in Italy and their implications for biodiversity conservation. Landscape Ecology 22(4): 617–631. DOI 10.1007/s10980-006-9056-4.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Garbarino M, Lingua E, Subirà M, et al. (2011) The larch wood pasture: structure and dynamics of a cultural landscape. European Journal of Forest Research 130: 491–502. DOI 10.1007/s10342-010-0437-5.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Garbarino M, Lingua E, Weisberg PJ, et al. (2013) Land-use history and topographic gradients as driving factors of subalpine Larix decidua forests. Landscape Ecology 28(5): 805–817. DOI 10.1007/s10980-012-9792-6.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Garbarino M, Pividori M (2006) Dynamics of the forest landscape: evolution of newly-established forests on pastures in Corte Pogallo — Val Grande National Park (VB — Italy). Forest@ 3(1): 213–221. (In Italian). DOI: 10.3832/efor0359-0030213.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Gehrig-Fasel J, Guisan A, Zimmermann NE (2007) Tree line shifts in the Swiss Alps: Climate change or land abandonment? Journal of Vegetation Science 18: 571–582. DOI: 10.1111/j.1654-1103.2007.tb02571.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Gimmi U, Burgi M, Stuber M (2008) Reconstructing anthropogenic disturbance regimes in forest ecosystems: a case study from the Swiss Rhone valley. Ecosystems 11(1): 113–124. DOI: 10.1007/s10021-007-9111-2.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Gimmi U, Wohlgemuth T, Rigling A, et al. (2010) Land-use and climate change effects in forest compositional trajectories in a dry Central-Alpine valley. Annals of Forest Science 67, article 701. DOI: 10.1051/forest/2010026.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Grossi JL, Chenavier L, Delcros P, et al. (1995) Effects of landscape structure on vegetation and some animal groups after agriculture abandonment. Landscape and Urban Planning 31(1-3): 291–301. DOI: 10.1016/0169-2046(94)01054-C.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Grossmann EB, Mladenoff DJ (2007) Open woodland and savanna decline in a mixed-disturbance landscape (1938 to 1998) in the Northwest Wisconsin (USA) Sand Plain. Landscape Ecology 22: 43–55. DOI: 10.1007/s10980-007-9113-7.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Guidi M, Piussi P (1993) Natural afforestation and landscape changes in the Eastern Prealps of Italy. Revue de Geographie Alpine 81(3): 95–102. DOI: 10.3406/rga.1993.3722.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Höchtl F, Lehringer S, Konold W (2005) “Wilderness”: what it means when it becomes a reality—a case study from the southwestern Alps. Landscape and Urban Planning 70: 85–95. DOI: 10.1016/j.landurbplan.2003.10.006.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Ihse M, Lindahl C (2000) A holistic model for landscape ecology in practice: the Swedish survey and management of ancient meadows and pastures. Landscape and Urban Planning 50: 59–84. DOI: 10.1016/S0169-2046(00)00080-3.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. IPLA (1999) Forest management plan of Alta Valle Pesio e Tanaro Natural Park — 1998–2010 revision. Torino, Italy. (In Italian)Google Scholar
  29. Koerner W, Dambrine E, Dupouey JL, et al. (1999). δ15N of forest soil and understorey vegetation reflect the former agricultural land-use. Oecologia 121(3): 421–425. DOI: 10.1007/s004420050947.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Li H, Wu J (2004). Use and misuse of landscape indices. Landscape Ecology 19: 389–399. DOI: 10.1023/B:LAND.0000030441.15628.d6.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Lütolf M, Bolliger J, Kienast F, et al. (2009) Scenario-based assessment of future land-use change on butterfly species distributions. Biodiversity and Conservation 18(5): 1329–1347. DOI: 10.1007/s10531-008-9541-y.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. MacDonald D, Crabtree JR, Wiesinger G, et al. (2000) Agricultural abandonment in mountain areas of Europe: Environmental consequences and policy response. Journal of Environmental Management 59: 47–69. DOI: 10.1006/jema.1999.0335.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Marigo G, Peltier JP, Girel J, et al. (2000) Success in the demographic expansion of Fraxinus excelsior L. Trees — Structure and Funtion 15(1): 1–13. DOI: 10.1007/s004680000061.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Marini L, Klimek S, Battisti A (2011) Mitigating the impacts of the decline of traditional farming on mountain landscapes and biodiversity: a case study in the European Alps. Environmental Science & Policy 14(3): 258–267. DOI: 10.1016/j.envsci.2010.12.003.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. McGarigal K, Marks BJ (1995) FRAGSTATS: Spatial Pattern Analysis Program for Quantifying Landscape Structure (General Technical Report PNWG-GTR-351). Portland, OR.Google Scholar
  36. Motta R, Garbarino F (2003) Stand history and its consequences for the present and future dynamic in two silver fir (Abies alba Mill.) stands in the high Pesio Valley (Piedmont, Italy). Annals of Forest Science 60(4): 361–370. DOI: 10.1051/forest:2003027.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Motta R, Morales M, Nola P (2006) Human land-use, forest dynamics and tree growth at the treeline in the Western Italian Alps. Annals of Forest Science 63: 739–747. DOI: 10.1051/forest:2006055.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Naveh Z (1995) Interactions of landscapes and cultures. Landscape and Urban Planning 32: 43–54. DOI: 10.1016/0169-2046(94)00183-4.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Niedrist G, Tasser E, Luth C, et al. (2009) Plant diversity declines with recent land-use changes in European Alps. Plant Ecology 202(2): 195–210. DOI: 10.1007/s11258-008-9487-x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Papanastasis VP (1997) Livestock grazing in Mediterranean ecosystems: an historical and policy perspective. In Papanastasis VP and Peter D (eds.), Ecological Basis of Livestock Grazing in Mediterranean Ecosystems. Brussels, Belgium. pp 5–9.Google Scholar
  41. PCI-Geomatics (2010) PCI Geomatica. 10.3. Richmond Hill, Ontario, USA. PCI Geomatics Enterpises Inc.Google Scholar
  42. Pedrini P, Sergio F (2001) Golden eagle aquila chrysaetos density and productivity in relation to land abandonment and forest expansion in the Alps. Bird Study 48(2): 194–199. DOI: 10.1080/00063650109461218.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Piovesan G, Adams JM (2001) Masting behavior in beech: linking reproduction and climatic variation. Canadian Journal of Botany 79: 1039–1047. DOI: 10.1139/cjb-79-9-103.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Rocchini D, Perry GLW, Salerno M, et al. (2006) Landscape change and the dynamics of open formations in a natural reserve. Landscape and Urban Planning 77: 167–177. DOI: 10.1016/j.landurbplan.2005.02.008.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Sala OE, Chapin FS, Armesto JJ, et al. (2000) Global biodiversity scenarios for the year 2100. Science 287(5459): 1770–1774. DOI: 10.1126/science.287.5459.1770.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Sergio F, Scandolara C, Marchesi L, et al. (2005) Effect of agroforestry and landscape changes on common buzzards (Buteo buteo) in the Alps: implications for conservation. Animal Conservation 8(1): 17–25. DOI: 10.1017/S1367943004001623.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Sitzia T, Semenzato P, Trentanovi G (2010). Natural reforestation is changing spatial patterns of rural mountain and hill landscapes: A global overview. Forest Ecology and Management 259(8): 1354–1362. DOI: 10.1016/j.foreco.2010.01.048.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Sitzia T, Trentanovi G (2011) Maggengo meadow patches enclosed by forests in the Italian Alps: evidence of landscape legacy on plant diversity. Biodiversity and Conservation 20(5): 945–961. DOI:10.1007/s10531-011-0006-3.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Sturaro E, Cocca G, Gallo L, et al. (2009) Livestock systems and farming styles in Eastern Italian Alps: an on-farm survey. Italian Journal of Animal Science 8: 541–554. DOI: 10.4081/ijas.2009.541.Google Scholar
  50. Svenning JC, Skov F (2005) The relative roles of environment and history as controls of tree species composition and richness in Europe. Journal of Biogeography 32(6): 1019–1033. DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2699.2005.01219.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Tasser E, Tappeiner U (2002) Impact of land-use changes on mountain vegetation. Applied Vegetation Science 5(2): 173–184. DOI:10.1111/j.1654-109X.2002.tb00547.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Tasser E, Walde J, Tappeiner U, et al. (2007) Land-use changes and natural reforestation in the Eastern Central Alps. Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment 118(1-4): 115–129. DOI:10.1016/j.agee.2006.05.004.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Tattoni C, Ciolli M, Ferretti F (2011) The fate of priority areas for conservation in protected areas: a fine-scale markov chain approach. Environmental Management 47(2): 263–278. DOI: 10.1007/s00267-010-9601-4.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Tattoni C, Ciolli M, Ferretti F, et al. (2010) Monitoring spatial and temporal pattern of Paneveggio forest (northern Italy) from 1859 to 2006. iForest — Biogeosciences and Forestry 3(3): 72–80. DOI: 10.3832/ifor0530-003.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Tischendorf L (2001) Can landscape indices predict ecological processes consistently? Landscape Ecology 16(3): 235–254. DOI: 10.1023/A:1011112719782.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Turner BL, Meyer WB (1993) Environmental change: the human factor. In McDonnell MJ, Pickett STA (eds.), Humans as Components of Ecosystems, Springer-Verlag, New York. pp. 40–50.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Vitousek PM, Mooney HA, Lubchenco J, et al. (1997) Human domination of earth’s ecosystems. Science 277(5325): 494–499. DOI: 10.1126/science.277.5325.494CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Science Press, Institute of Mountain Hazards and Environment, CAS and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Matteo Garbarino
    • 1
    Email author
  • Emanuele Sibona
    • 2
  • Emanuele Lingua
    • 3
  • Renzo Motta
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Agricultural, Food and Environmental Sciences (D3A)Università Politecnica delle MarcheBiancheAncona, Italy
  2. 2.Department of Agriculture, Forest and Food Sciences (DISAFA)University of TorinoGrugliasco, TOItaly
  3. 3.Department of Land and Agro-Forestry Systems (TESAF)University of Padova, AgripolisLegnaro, PDItaly

Personalised recommendations