Skip to main content

Advertisement

Log in

Spatial Patterns of Land Use Changes Across a Mediterranean Metropolitan Landscape: Implications for Biodiversity Management

  • Published:
Environmental Management Aims and scope Submit manuscript

Abstract

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.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this article

Price excludes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.

Instant access to the full article PDF.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3
Fig. 4
Fig. 5

Similar content being viewed by others

References

  • Al-Ahmadi K, See L, Heppenstall A, Hogg J (2008) Calibration of fuzzy cellular automata model of urban dynamics in Saudi Arabia. Ecol Complex 6:80–101

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Alkemade R, van Oorschot M, Miles L, Nellemann C, Bakkenes M, ten Brink B (2009) GLOBIO3: a framework to investigate options for reducing global terrestrial biodiversity loss. Ecosystems 12:374–390

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Alodos CL, Pueyo Y, Barrantes O, Escós J, Giner L, Robles AB (2004) Variations in landscape patterns and vegetation cover between 1957 and 1994 in a semiarid Mediterranean ecosystem. Landsc Ecol 19:543–559

    Google Scholar 

  • Antrop M (2005) Why landscapes of the past are important for the future. Landsc Plan 70(1–2):21–34

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Arianoutsou-Faraggitaki M (1985) Desertification by overgrazing in Greece: the case of Lesvos Island. J Arid Environ 9:237–242

    Google Scholar 

  • Bignal EM, McCracken DI (2000) The nature conservation value of European traditional farming systems. Environ Rev 8:149–171

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Bonet A (2004) Secondary succession on semi-arid Mediterranean old-fields in South-eastern Spain: insights for conservation and restoration of degraded lands. J Arid Environ 56:213–233

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Catalán B, Saurí D, Serra P (2008) Urban sprawl in the Mediterranean? Patterns of growth and change in the Barcelona Metropolitan Region 1993–2000. Landsc Plan 85:174–184

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Cheng J, Masser I (2003) Urban growth pattern modelling: a case study of Wuhan city, PR China. Landsc Urb Plan 62:199–217

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Council of European Communities 1997. Council Directive 97/62/EC of 27 October 1997 adapting to technical and scientific progress Directive 92/43/EEC on the conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora. L 305, 42–65

  • Daily GC (2001) Ecological forecasts. Nature 411:245

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Debussche M, Lepart J, Dervieux A (1999) Mediterranean landscape changes: evidences from old postcards. Glob Ecol Biogeogr 8:3–15

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Donald PF, Pisano G, Rayment MD, Pain DJ (2002) The Common Agricultural Policy, EU enlargement and the conservation of Europe’s farmland birds

  • EEA (2006) Urban sprawl in Europe. The ignored challenge. EEA report 10, European Environment Agency, Copenhagen

  • EEA (2010) Ecosystem accounting and the cost of biodiversity losses. The case of coastal Mediterranean wetlands. EEA Technical Report 3/2010

  • Elith J, Leathwick JR (2009) Species distribution models: ecological explanation and prediction across space and time. Annu Rev Ecol Evol Syst 40:677–697

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Espelta JM, Rodrigo A, Habrouk A, Meghelli N, Ordóñez JL, Retana J (2002) Land use changes, natural regeneration patterns and restoration practices after a large wildfire in NE Spain: Challenges for fire ecology and landscape restoration. In: Trabaud L (ed) Fire and Biological Processes. Backhuys Pub, pp 315-324

  • Fahrig L (2003) Effects of habitat fragmentation on biodiversity. Annu Rev Ecol Evol Syst 34:487–515

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Falcucci A, Maiorano L, Boitani L (2007) Changes in land-use/land-cover patterns in Italy and their implications for biodiversity conservation. Landsc Ecol 22:617–631

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Fazey I, Fischer J, Lindenmayer DB (2005) What do conservation biologists publish? Biol Conserv 124:63–73

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Forman RTT (2008) Urban regions: ecology and planning beyond the city. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge/New York

    Book  Google Scholar 

  • Gassó N, Pino J, Font X, Vilà M (2011) Regional context affects native and alien plant species richness across habitat types. Appl Veg Sci 15:4–13

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Gellrich M, Baur P, Koch B, Zimmermann NE (2007) Agricultural land abandonment and natural forest re-growth in the Swiss mountains: a spatially explicit economic analysis. Agric Ecosyst Environ 118:93–108

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Gerard F, Petit S, Smith G et al (2010) Land cover change in Europe between 1950 and 2000 determined employing aerial photography. Prog Phys Geog 34(2):183–205

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Giller P, O’Donovan G (2002) Biodiversity and ecosystem function: do species matter? Biology and environment. Proc R Ir Acad 102:129–139

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Grimm NB, Faeth SH, Golubiewski NE, Redman CL, Wu JG, Bai XM, Briggs JM (2008) Global change and the ecology of cities. Science 319:756–760

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Grove AT, Rackman O (2001) The nature of Mediterranean Europe. Yale University Press, New Haven

    Google Scholar 

  • Guirado M, Pino J, Rodà F (2006) Understorey plant species richness and composition in metropolitan forest archipelagos: effects of forest size, adjacent land use and distance to the edge. Glob Ecol Biogeogr 15:50–62

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • He C, Okada N, Zhang Q, Shi P, Jinggang L (2008) Modelling dynamic urban expansion processes incorporating a potential model with cellular automata. Landsc Urb Plan 86:79–91

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Hecker N, Vives PT (eds) (1995) The Status of Wetland Inventories in the Mediterranean Region MedWet Publication / IWRB Publication 38

  • Ihse M (1995) Swedish agricultural landscapes: patterns and changes during the last 50 years, studied by aerial photos. Landsc Plan 31(1–3):21–37

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Kobler A, Cunder T, Pirnat J (2005) Modelling spontaneous afforestation in Postojna area, Slovenia. J Nat Conserv 13(2–3):127–135

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Krauss J, Bommarco R, Guardiola M, Heikkinen RK, Helm A, Kuussaari M, Lindborg R, Ockinger E, Partel M, Pino J, Poyry J, Raatikainen KM, Sang A, Stefanescu C, Teder T, Zobel M, Steffan-Dewenter I (2010) Habitat fragmentation causes immediate and time-delayed biodiversity loss at different trophic levels. Ecol Lett 13:597–605

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Lasanta-Martínez T, Vicente-Serrano SM, Cuadrat-Prats JM (2005) Mountain Mediterranean landscape evolution caused by the abandonment of traditional primary activities: a study of the Spanish Central Pyrenees. Appl Geogr 25(1):47–65

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Lepš J, Šmilauer P (2003) Multivariate analysis of ecological data using CANOCO. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge

    Book  Google Scholar 

  • Lloret F, Calvo E, Pons X, Díaz-Delgado R (2002) Wildfires and landscape patterns in the eastern Iberian Peninsula. Landsc Ecol 17:745–759

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Lyrintzis GA (1996) Human impact trend in Crete: the case of Psilorites Mountain. Environ Conserv 23:140–148

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • McDonnell MJ, Pickett STA, Groffman P, Bohlen P, Pouyat RV, Zipperer WC, Parmelee RW, Carreiro MM, Medley K (1997) Ecosystem processes along an urban-to-rural gradient. Urb Ecosyst 1:21–36

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • McKinney ML (2006) Urbanization as a major cause of biotic homogenization. Biol Conserv 127:247–260

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Myers N, Mittermeier RA, Mittermeier CG, da Fonseca GAB, Kent J (2000) Biodiversity hotspots for conservation priorities. Nature 403:853–858

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Pain DJ, Pienkowski MW (1997) Farming and birds in Europe. The Common Agricultural Policy and its implications for bird conservation. Academic Press, Cambridge

    Google Scholar 

  • Parcerisas L, Marull J, Pino J, Tello E, Coll F, Başnou C (2012) Land use changes, landscape ecology and their socioeconomic driving forces in the Spanish Mediterranean coast (El Maresme County, 1850–2005). Environ Sci Policy 23:120–132

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Pèrez MR (1990) Development of Mediterranean agriculture: an ecological approach. Landsc Plan 18(3–4):211–219

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Petit S, Firbank L, Wyatt B, Howard D (2001) MIRABEL: models for integrated review and assessment of biodiversity in European landscapes. J Hum Environ 30(2):81–88

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Pino J, Başnou C, Guirado M, Rodà F (2008) Canvis en la superfície i el grau de fragmentació del bosc a la plana del Vallès entre els anys 1993 i 2000. (Changes in forest surface and fragmentation in the Vallès Plain between 1993 and 2000). Documents d’Anàlisi Geogràfica 51:59–77

    Google Scholar 

  • Pinto-Correia T, Vos W (2004) Multifunctionality in Mediterranean landscapes: past and future. In: Jongman R (ed) The new dimensions of the European landscape, Wageningen EU Frontis Series. Springer, Wageningen

    Google Scholar 

  • Poyatos R, Latron J, Llorens P (2003) Land use and land cover change after agricultural abandonment. Mt Res Dev 23(4):362–368

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Preiss E, Martin JL, Debussche M (1997) Rural depopulation and recent landscape changes in a Mediterranean region: consequences to the breeding avifauna. Landsc Ecol 12:51–61

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Pyšek P (1998) Alien and native species in Central European urban floras: a quantitative comparison. J Biogeogr 25:155–163

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Rescia AJ, Schmitz MF, Martín de Agar P, de Pablo CL, Pineda FD (1995) Ascribing plant diversity values to historical changes in landscape: a methodological approach. Landsc Urb Plan 31:81–194

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Richardson DM, Whittaker RJ (2010) Conservation biogeography: foundations, concepts and challenges. Divers Distrib 16:313–320

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Rocamora G (1997) Mediterranean forest, scrubland, and rocky habitats. In: Tucker G, Evans MI (eds) Habitats for birds in Europe. Bird Life International, Cambridge, pp 39–265

    Google Scholar 

  • Sala OE, Chapin FS III, Armesto JJ, Berlow E, Bloomfield J, Dirzo R, Huber-Sanwald E, Huenneke LF, Jackson RB, Kinzig A, Leemans R, Lodge DM, Mooney HA, Oesterheld M, Poff NL, Sykes MT, Walker BH, Walker M, Wall DH (2000) Global biodiversity scenarios for the year 2100. Science 287:1770–1774

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Santé I, García A, Miranda D, Crecente R (2010) Cellular automata models for the simulation of real-world urban processes: a review and analysis. Landsc Urb Plan 96:108–122

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Santos K, Pino J, Roda F, Guirado M, Ribas J (2008) Beyond the reserves: the role of non-protected rural areas for avifauna conservation in the area of Barcelona (NE of Spain). Landsc Urb Plan 84:140–151

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Stefanescu C, Peñuelas J, Filella I (2005) Butterflies highlight the conservation value of hay meadows highly threatened by land-use changes in a protected Mediterranean area. Biol Conserv 126(2):234–246

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Sui DZ, Zeng H (2001) Modeling the dynamics of landscape structure in Asia’s emerging desakota regions: a case study in Shenzhen. Landsc Plan 53(1–4):37–52

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Sutherland WJ (2004) A blueprint for the countryside. Ibis 146:230–238

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • R Development Core Team (2011) R: a language and environment for statistical computing. R Foundation for Statistical Computing, Vienna, Austria. Available online at: www.R-project.org, Vienna, Austria

  • Tello E, Marull J, Pino J (2008) The loss of landscape efficiency: an ecological analysis of land-use changes in Western Mediterranean agriculture (Vallès region, Catalonia, 1853-2004). Glob Environ 2:112–150

    Google Scholar 

  • Wagner HH (2004) Direct multi-scale ordination with canonical correspondence analysis. Ecology 85:342–350

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Acknowledgements

We thank P. Šmilauer for his advice on statistical treatment and four anonymous referees for their helpful comments on the manuscript. This study was funded by the Territorial Information System for the Network of Open Areas in the province of Barcelona (SITxell), promoted by the Barcelona Provincial Council (Diputació de Barcelona), and by the Spanish Consolider-Ingenio 2010 program in the project MONTES (CSD2008-00040).

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Joan Pino.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Başnou, C., Álvarez, E., Bagaria, G. et al. Spatial Patterns of Land Use Changes Across a Mediterranean Metropolitan Landscape: Implications for Biodiversity Management. Environmental Management 52, 971–980 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00267-013-0150-5

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00267-013-0150-5

Keywords

Navigation