In Mediterranean mountains, the abandonment of traditional land-uses is promoting a rapid forest expansion. This trendmay be exacerbated by nature reserves, which further limit human disturbance in mountain contexts. We investigatedwhether ecological parameters, landscape structure, and management policy influenced vegetation cover/dynamics over a14-year period in the Pollino National Park, a large protected area in southern Italy. Based on remote sensed and field datawe obtained land-cover maps referred to 2004, 1997, and 1990. Canonical ordination related patterns of vegetation cover/dynamics to ecological (elevation, slope, climate) and structural (spatial heterogeneity) landscape traits. Higher change rateregarded scrublands (decrease) and forests (expansion). Spatial heterogeneity declined over the study period, while theaverage area of forest patches increased. A non-spatial transition matrix model revealed that the decline of pastures/scrublands, and forest recovery accelerated in the 1997–2004 period compared to the 1990–1997 interval. Since the PollinoNational Park was established in 1993, the protection regime may have favored the reduction of open habitats in the secondtimeframe. The recognized trends suggest a future reduction of both landscape complexity and dynamics in the PollinoNational Park, a factor that could possibly be detrimental for the conservation of biodiversity.

Patterns of vegetation cover/dynamics in a protected Mediterranean mountain area: influence of the ecological context and protection policy.

GARGANO, Domenico;MINGOZZI, Antonio;BERNARDO, Liliana
2012

Abstract

In Mediterranean mountains, the abandonment of traditional land-uses is promoting a rapid forest expansion. This trendmay be exacerbated by nature reserves, which further limit human disturbance in mountain contexts. We investigatedwhether ecological parameters, landscape structure, and management policy influenced vegetation cover/dynamics over a14-year period in the Pollino National Park, a large protected area in southern Italy. Based on remote sensed and field datawe obtained land-cover maps referred to 2004, 1997, and 1990. Canonical ordination related patterns of vegetation cover/dynamics to ecological (elevation, slope, climate) and structural (spatial heterogeneity) landscape traits. Higher change rateregarded scrublands (decrease) and forests (expansion). Spatial heterogeneity declined over the study period, while theaverage area of forest patches increased. A non-spatial transition matrix model revealed that the decline of pastures/scrublands, and forest recovery accelerated in the 1997–2004 period compared to the 1990–1997 interval. Since the PollinoNational Park was established in 1993, the protection regime may have favored the reduction of open habitats in the secondtimeframe. The recognized trends suggest a future reduction of both landscape complexity and dynamics in the PollinoNational Park, a factor that could possibly be detrimental for the conservation of biodiversity.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/20.500.11770/149691
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