Semi-natural vegetation in agricultural land mainly includes extensively managed grasslands, agro-forestry areas and all vegetated features that are not used for crop production, such as hedgerows, buffer strips, field margins and woodlots. Semi-natural vegetation plays a major role in the supply of ecosystem services such as pollination, pest control, water quality control and erosion prevention. The efficiency of ecosystem services for agriculture should therefore depend upon the spatial distribution of semi-natural vegetation. In spite of such a relevance, semi-natural vegetation in agricultural land has never been mapped at the European scale. Therefore, we report here the first 1- km resolution map of semi-natural vegetation in agricultural land at the European Union scale. For that, we use an innovative convergence-of-evidence mapping method. We also present an assessment and a classification of the relation between semi-natural vegetation and ecosystem service supply at the regional scale. The major improvements in our mapping method are the following: (1) both large and small patches of perennial vegetation are detected in fine-resolution satellite images by incorporating the spectral rule-based preliminary classifier, (2) the identification of semi-natural grassland is enhanced, (3) European ancillary maps are used to help mapping of woody vegetation and identification of agro-ecosystems. Validation shows that our output map is 34.3 % more accurate than pre-existing components. In addition, results show that regulating ecosystem services increase with the abundance of semi-natural vegetation in agricultural lands with a coefficient R 2 of 0.67. The results also show no specific trend in relation to provisioning ecosystem services. These findings mean that semi-natural vegetation is usually beneficial for regulating services, whereas the relation to provisioning services is strictly context-dependent. Overall our study supports greening measures design in the frame of the Common Agricultural Policy for 2014–2020. Results also will help to identify green infrastructure elements and priority areas for ecological restoration.
This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Subscribe to journal
Immediate online access to all issues from 2019. Subscription will auto renew annually.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Baraldi A, Boschetti L (2012a) Operational automatic remote sensing image understanding systems: beyond geographic object-based and object-oriented image analysis (GEOBIA/GEOOIA). Part 1: introduction. Remote Sens 4(9):2694–2735. doi:10.3390/rs4092694
Baraldi A, Boschetti L (2012b) Operational automatic remote sensing image understanding systems: beyond geographic object-based and object-oriented image analysis (GEOBIA/GEOOIA). Part 2: novel system architecture, information/knowledge representation, algorithm design and implementation. Remote Sens 4(9):2768–2817. doi:10.3390/rs4092768
Baraldi A, Puzzolo V, Blonda P, Bruzzone L, Tarantino C (2006) Automatic spectral rule-based preliminary mapping of calibrated Landsat TM and ETM+ images. IEEE Trans Geosci Remote Sens 44(9):2563–2586. doi:10.1109/TGRS.2006.874140
Brandt J, Geeson N, Imeson A (2003) A desertification indicator system for Mediterranean Europe. DESERTLINKS Project (http://www.kcl.ac.uk/projects/desertlinks/). Accessed 20 May 2014
Britz W (2008) Automated model linkages: the example of CAPRI. Ger J Agric Econ 57 (8)
Clerici N, Weissteiner CJ, Paracchini ML, Boschetti L, Baraldi A, Strobl P (2013) Pan-European distribution modelling of stream riparian zones based on multi-source Earth observation data. Ecol Indic 24:211–223. doi:10.1016/j.ecolind.2012.06.002
European Commission (2011) Our life insurance, our natural capital: an EU biodiversity Strategy to 2020. COM (2011) 244 final. Brussels
European Commission (2013) Green infrastructure (GI) – enhancing Europe’s natural capital. COM (2013) 249 final. Brussels
European Environment Agency (2007) CLC2006 technical guidelines. EEA Technical Report No 17/2007. doi: 10.2800/12134
Farmer M, Cooper T, Baldock D, Tucker G, Eaton R, Hart K, Bartley J, Rayment M (2008) Final report - reflecting environmental land use needs into EU policy: preserving and enhancing the environmental benefits of unfarmed features on EU farmland. Contract No.ENV.B.1/ETU/2007/0033, report for DG Environment, IEEP, London
Gay SH, Osterburg B, Baldock D, Zdanowicz A (2005) Recent evolution of the EU Common Agricultural Policy (CAP): state of play and environmental potential. MEACAP WP6 D4b, Federal Agricultural Research Centre, Braunschweig, and Institute for European Environmental Policy, London
Grau R, Kuemmerle T, Macchi L (2013) Beyond ‘land sparing versus land sharing’: environmental heterogeneity, globalization and the balance between agricultural production and nature conservation. Curr Opin Environ Sustain 5(5):477–483. doi:10.1016/j.cosust.2013.06.001
Haines-Young R, Potschin M (2013) CICES V4.3 Common International Classification of Ecosystem Services, Report prepared following consultation on CICES Version 4, August-December 2012. EEA Framework Contract No EEA/IEA/09/003
Jacques P, Gallego J (2006) The LUCAS 2006 project–A new methodology. European Commision, Joint Research Centre. http://mars.jrc.ec.europa.eu/Bulletins-Publications/The-LUCAS-2006-project-A-new-methodology. Accessed 20 May 2014
Kempeneers P, Sedano F, Seebach L, Strobl P, San-Miguel-Ayanz J (2011) Data fusion of different spatial resolution remote sensing images applied to forest-type mapping. IEEE Trans Geosci Remote Sens 49(12):4977–4986. doi:10.1109/TGRS.2011.2158548
Maes J, Paracchini ML, Zulian G (2011) A European assessment of the provision of ecosystem services: towards an atlas of ecosystem services. JRC Scientific and Technical Reports EUR 24750 EN. European Commission. Luxembourg: Office for Official Publications of the European Union. doi: 10.2788/63557
Maes J, Egoh B, Willemen L, Liquete C, Vihervaara P, Schägner JP, Grizzetti B, Drakou EG, Notte AL, Zulian G, Bouraoui F, Paracchini ML, Braat L, Bidoglio G (2012a) Mapping ecosystem services for policy support and decision making in the European Union. Ecosyst Serv 1(1):31–39. doi:10.1016/j.ecoser.2012.06.004
Maes J, Paracchini ML, Zulian G, Dunbar MB, Alkemade R (2012b) Synergies and trade-offs between ecosystem service supply, biodiversity, and habitat conservation status in Europe. Biol Conserv 155:1–12. doi:10.1016/j.biocon.2012.06.016
Metzger MJ, Bunce RGH, Jongman RHG, Mücher CA, Watkins JW (2005) A climatic stratification of the environment of Europe. Glob Ecol Biogeogr 14(6):549–563. doi:10.1111/j.1466-822x.2005.00190.x
Nunes de Lima MV (ed) (2005) Image2000 and CLC2000 Products and methods. EUR 21757 EN. European Commission, Joint Research Centre, Institute for Environment and Sustainability, Ispra, Italy
Official Journal of the European Union (2013) Regulation (EU) No 1307/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 december 2013 establishing rules for direct payments to farmers under support schemes within the framework of the common agricultural policy and repealing Council Regulation (EC) No 637/2008 and Council Regulation (EC) No 73/2009. Official Journal of the European Union, L 347/608, 20.12.2013
Paracchini ML, Petersen J-E, Hoogeveen Y, Bamps C, Burfield I, van Swaay C (2008) High nature value farmland in Europe. An estimate of the distribution patterns on the basis of land cover and biodiversity data. JRC Scientific and Technical Reports EUR 23480 EN. Luxembourg: Office for Official Publications of the European Union. doi: 10.2788/8891
Qiu J, Turner MG (2013) Spatial interactions among ecosystem services in an urbanizing agricultural watershed. PNAS 110(29):12149–12154. doi:10.1073/pnas.1310539110
Soille P (ed) (2011) The IMAGE-2006 Mosaic Project. JRC Scientific and Technical Reports EUR 23755 EN. European Commission. Luxembourg: Office for Official Publications of the European Union. doi: 10.2788/25572
Tscharntke T, Clough Y, Wanger TC, Jackson L, Motzke I, Perfecto I, Vandermeer J, Whitbread A (2012) Global food security, biodiversity conservation and the future of agricultural intensification. Biol Conserv 151(1):53–59. doi:10.1016/j.biocon.2012.01.068
van der Zanden EH, Verburg PH, Mücher CA (2013) Modelling the spatial distribution of linear landscape elements in Europe. Ecol Indic 27:125–136. doi:10.1016/j.ecolind.2012.12.002
Weissteiner CJ, Sommer S, Strobl P (2008) Time series analysis of NOAA AVHRR derived vegetation cover as a means to extract proportions of permanent and seasonal components at pixel level. EARSeL eProceedings 7(1):11–20
Weissteiner CJ, Strobl P, Sommer S (2011) Assessment of status and trends of olive farming intensity in EU-Mediterranean countries using remote sensing time series and land cover data. Ecol Indic 11(2):601–610. doi:10.1016/j.ecolind.2010.08.006
Wezel A, Casagrande M, Celette F, Vian J-F, Ferrer A, Peigné J (2013) Agroecological practices for sustainable agriculture. A review. Agron Sustain Dev. doi:10.1007/s13593-013-0180-7
Zulian G, Maes J, Paracchini ML (2013) Linking land cover data and crop yields for mapping and assessment of pollination services in Europe. Land 2(3):472–492. doi:10.3390/land2030472
The authors would like to thank Nicola Clerici for his support with the riparian zones dataset.
About this article
Cite this article
García-Feced, C., Weissteiner, C.J., Baraldi, A. et al. Semi-natural vegetation in agricultural land: European map and links to ecosystem service supply. Agron. Sustain. Dev. 35, 273–283 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s13593-014-0238-1
- Provisioning services
- Regulating services
- Spectral rule-based image classification
- Common Agricultural Policy
- Ecological focus areas
- European Union biodiversity Strategy