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Article

The Loss of Landscape Ecological Functionality in the Barcelona Province (1956–2009): Could Land-Use History Involve a Legacy for Current Biodiversity?

1
Department of Economic History, Faculty of Economics and Business, Institutions of Policy and World Economy, University of Barcelona, Av. Diagonal 690, 08034 Barcelona, Spain
2
Barcelona Institute for Regional and Metropolitan Studies, Autonomous University of Barcelona, Plaça del Coneixement, edifici MRA, planta 2, 08193 Bellaterra, Spain
3
Department of Environmental Studies, Faculty of Social Studies, Masaryk University, Joštova 10, 602 00 Brno, Czech Republic
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sustainability 2020, 12(6), 2238; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12062238
Received: 28 January 2020 / Revised: 29 February 2020 / Accepted: 9 March 2020 / Published: 13 March 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Rural Landscape, Nature Conservation and Culture)
Could past land uses, and the land cover changes carried out, affect the current landscape capacity to maintain biodiversity? If so, knowledge of historical landscapes and their socio-ecological transitions would be useful for sustainable land use planning. We constructed a GIS dataset in 10 × 10 km UTM cells of the province of Barcelona (Catalonia, Spain) for 1956 and 2009 with the changing levels of farming disturbance exerted through the human appropriation of photosynthetic net primary production (HANPP), and a set of landscape ecology metrics to assess the impacts of the corresponding land-use changes. Then, we correlated them with the spatial distribution of total species richness (including vascular plants, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals). The results allow us to characterize the main trends in changing landscape patterns and processes, and explore whether a land-use legacy of many complex agroforest mosaics maintained by the intermediate farming disturbance managed in 1956 could still exist, despite the decrease or disappearance of those mosaics before 2009 due to the combined impacts of agroindustrial intensification (meaning higher HANPP levels), forest transition (meaning lower HANPP levels) and urban sprawl. Statistical analysis reveals a positive impact of the number of larger, less disturbed forest patches, where many protected natural sites have been created in 1956–2009. However, it also confirms that this result has not only been driven by conservation policies and that the distribution of species richness is currently correlated with the maintenance of intermediate levels of HANPP. This suggests that both land-sharing and land-sparing approaches to biodiversity conservation may have played a synergistic role owing to the legacy of complex land cover mosaics of former agricultural landscapes that are now under a serious threat. View Full-Text
Keywords: land use and cover change (LUCC); landscape heterogeneity; intermediate disturbance ecology; biodiversity; land sparing and land sharing conservation policies land use and cover change (LUCC); landscape heterogeneity; intermediate disturbance ecology; biodiversity; land sparing and land sharing conservation policies
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MDPI and ACS Style

Tello, E.; Marull, J.; Padró, R.; Cattaneo, C.; Coll, F. The Loss of Landscape Ecological Functionality in the Barcelona Province (1956–2009): Could Land-Use History Involve a Legacy for Current Biodiversity? Sustainability 2020, 12, 2238. https://doi.org/10.3390/su12062238

AMA Style

Tello E, Marull J, Padró R, Cattaneo C, Coll F. The Loss of Landscape Ecological Functionality in the Barcelona Province (1956–2009): Could Land-Use History Involve a Legacy for Current Biodiversity? Sustainability. 2020; 12(6):2238. https://doi.org/10.3390/su12062238

Chicago/Turabian Style

Tello, Enric, Joan Marull, Roc Padró, Claudio Cattaneo, and Francesc Coll. 2020. "The Loss of Landscape Ecological Functionality in the Barcelona Province (1956–2009): Could Land-Use History Involve a Legacy for Current Biodiversity?" Sustainability 12, no. 6: 2238. https://doi.org/10.3390/su12062238

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