Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item:
Appears in Collections:Biological and Environmental Sciences Journal Articles
Peer Review Status: Refereed
Title: Recent land cover changes in Spain across biogeographical regions and protection levels: Implications for conservation policies
Author(s): Martinez-Fernandez, Jesus
Ruiz-Benito, Paloma
Zavala, Miguel A
Contact Email:
Keywords: Land cover change
Mediterranean region
Protected areas
Natura Net 2000
Systematic transition
Issue Date: Mar-2015
Date Deposited: 27-Jan-2015
Citation: Martinez-Fernandez J, Ruiz-Benito P & Zavala MA (2015) Recent land cover changes in Spain across biogeographical regions and protection levels: Implications for conservation policies. Land Use Policy, 44, pp. 62-75.
Abstract: Land use and land cover change is a major component of global change, which directly alters habitat composition, biodiversity and ecosystem functioning. The regional analysis of land cover changes in heterogeneous landscapes can be masked by spatial variations caused by both bioclimatic and socioeconomic factors. Recognizing these influences, however, can be critical for designing conservation policies suited for each region. In this study, we examined the main processes of land cover change in Spain duringc.20 years (1987–2006), using CORINE land cover maps and five comparative spatial frameworks based on biomes (temperate and Mediterranean) and protection levels (Nationally Designated areas, European Natura Net 2000 and unprotected areas). We observed high land cover persistence (ca.93%) throughout Spain, but with important anthropization processes and internal changes in natural areas – which experienced a slight decrease – while, agrarian areas remained almost stable. However, there were significant differences in the occupation, intensity and direction of change depending on the biome and protection level. The Mediterranean region had lower persistence and higher anthropization processes than the temperate region, suggesting a high vulnerability to land cover changes for natural habitat and related species. Overall, we observed a lower intensity of anthropization processes in protected areas, increasing the persistence of natural and agrarian areas; key habitats for species conservation. The highest persistence of natural areas corresponds to Nationally Designated Protected (NDP) areas, while in Natura Net 2000 we found the highest agrarian areas persistence. Nevertheless, Natura Net 2000 areas – with the exception of those nominated as NDP – had the largest increase of artificial surfaces as well as the highest internal processes of change within natural areas due to disturbances. The trends reported in this study suggest the importance of effective management plans and conservation measures that ensure both habitat and species conservation, especially in the Mediterranean region. In the case of Natura Net 2000, where traditional agricultural and livestock activities had a larger importance, it would be advisable to definitively implement the pending management plans, which are feasible and compatible with local human activities.
DOI Link: 10.1016/j.landusepol.2014.11.021
Rights: The publisher does not allow this work to be made publicly available in this Repository. Please use the Request a Copy feature at the foot of the Repository record to request a copy directly from the author. You can only request a copy if you wish to use this work for your own research or private study.
Licence URL(s):

Files in This Item:
File Description SizeFormat 
2015_MartinezFernandezetal_LUP.pdfFulltext - Published Version2.19 MBAdobe PDFUnder Embargo until 3000-01-01    Request a copy

Note: If any of the files in this item are currently embargoed, you can request a copy directly from the author by clicking the padlock icon above. However, this facility is dependent on the depositor still being contactable at their original email address.

This item is protected by original copyright

Items in the Repository are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.

The metadata of the records in the Repository are available under the CC0 public domain dedication: No Rights Reserved

If you believe that any material held in STORRE infringes copyright, please contact providing details and we will remove the Work from public display in STORRE and investigate your claim.