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Forests 2018, 9(9), 551;

70 Years of Land Use/Land Cover Changes in the Apennines (Italy): A Meta-Analysis

Department of Agricultural, Food and Environmental Sciences, Marche Polytechnic University, Via Brecce Bianche 10, 60131 Ancona (AN), Italy
Department of Agricultural, Forest and Food Sciences, University of Turin, Largo Paolo Braccini 2, 10095 Turin (TO), Italy
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 8 August 2018 / Revised: 4 September 2018 / Accepted: 7 September 2018 / Published: 8 September 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Forest Landscape Ecology: Linking Past, Present, and Future Data)
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Land use science usually adopts a case study approach to investigate landscape change processes, so we considered a meta-analysis an appropriate tool for summarizing general patterns and heterogeneous findings across multiple case studies over a large geographic area. Mountain landscapes in the Apennines (Italy) have undergone significant variations in the last century due to regional and national socio-economic changes. In this work, we reviewed 51 manuscripts from different databases and examined 57 case studies. We explored heterogeneous data sets, adopting a stepwise approach to select the case studies: Step 1, a general overview of the main studies; Step 2, an analysis of the features of the study sites and of land-use/cover transitions; Step 3, a landscape pattern analysis. We standardized the processing methods to obtain a new set of homogeneous data suitable for comparative analysis. After some pre-processing of the selected paper due to the broad heterogeneity of the data, we calculated common landscape metrics ex novo. We obtained digital images used to perform automatic segmentation with eCognition Developer 64 software. Our review indicated that most case studies were in Central and Southern Italy, 83% were examined at local scale, 77% carried out change detection, but only 38% included both change detection and landscape spatial pattern analysis. The results revealed a clear trend of forest expansion (+78%) and the reduction of croplands (−49%) and grasslands (−19%). We did not find significant changes in the landscape spatial patterns. View Full-Text
Keywords: LULCC; review; silvo-pastoral systems; new forests; cultural landscapes; crop land abandonment LULCC; review; silvo-pastoral systems; new forests; cultural landscapes; crop land abandonment

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Malandra, F.; Vitali, A.; Urbinati, C.; Garbarino, M. 70 Years of Land Use/Land Cover Changes in the Apennines (Italy): A Meta-Analysis. Forests 2018, 9, 551.

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