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Forests 2018, 9(1), 27; https://doi.org/10.3390/f9010027

Landscape Transformation under Global Environmental Change in Mediterranean Mountains: Agrarian Lands as a Guarantee for Maintaining Their Multifunctionality

1
Department of Geography, University of Girona (UdG), 17071 Girona, Catalonia, Spain
2
Institute of Environmental Science and Technology (ICTA), Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB), 08193 Bellaterra (Cerdanyola del Vallès), Catalonia, Spain
3
Department of Geography, University of Barcelona (UB), 08001 Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 20 November 2017 / Revised: 22 December 2017 / Accepted: 9 January 2018 / Published: 12 January 2018
(This article belongs to the Section Forest Ecology and Management)
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Abstract

The analysis of past and present patterns of agrarian mountain areas allows researchers to characterize the influence of landscape heterogeneity on biodiversity, cultural heritage, and forest fire hazard. This process was mapped, quantified, and described through the use of digital mapping (GIS) and landscape indexes in a protected area in Alta Garrotxa (Catalonia, Spain). These areas require urgent management and modelling to provide alternative management scenarios, in order to maintain and recover habitats. A set of different scenarios have been designed using a multi-criteria evaluation and geospatial information available for the study area to identify the key areas for management action and to predict the potential effects on agricultural lands by prioritizing one or another management objective: biodiversity, landscape structure and perception, cultural heritage, fire hazard, and management cost. The observed progressive land abandonment of open areas with a small size and greater isolation will have a large impact on biodiversity and cultural heritage, and increase fire risk. Sustainable development will require planning objectives compatible with the conservation of biodiversity and the preservation of Mediterranean features with support for agricultural activities. This methodology can contribute to and be easily implemented by land managers, which could help to strengthen the link between managers and stakeholders. View Full-Text
Keywords: landscape homogeneity; farmlands; landscape metrics; multicriteria analysis; Mediterranean mountains; global change landscape homogeneity; farmlands; landscape metrics; multicriteria analysis; Mediterranean mountains; global change
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Varga, D.; Vila Subirós, J.; Barriocanal, C.; Pujantell, J. Landscape Transformation under Global Environmental Change in Mediterranean Mountains: Agrarian Lands as a Guarantee for Maintaining Their Multifunctionality. Forests 2018, 9, 27.

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