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Monitoring directions and rates of change in trees outside forests through multitemporal analysis of map sequences

  • This study explores the potential of historical maps to detect, measure and monitor changes of trees outside forests. The main goal is to assess local-level changes of scattered trees and orchards and their land-use determinants in two areas in Southern Germany between 1901/1905 and 2009. Firstly, overall landscape changes are recorded. Secondly, the spatial-temporal trajectories of scattered trees and their land-use determinants are identified. Thirdly, changes in quantity and fragmentation patterns of traditional orchards are analyzed in their relationship to overall land-cover change. The results confirm major losses in scattered trees, mainly due to urbanization, agricultural intensification, and land abandonment. They further reveal that, while orchards have persisted in total area, they have undergone critical changes towards a simplified landscape structure and loss of the traditional land-use mosaic, which is a characterizing feature of high nature value landscapes. Multi-temporal assessment showed that most trends have been continuous and did not change directions over time, but rather accelerated during periods of rapid change (most dramatically in the 1950-1990 period). The case of orchards and scattered trees illustrates a major problem of cultural landscapes in Europe: Semi-natural landscape features of high nature value are threatened by both intensification and abandonment of land uses. This makes their conservation a potentially costly enterprise, as both opportunity costs for lost alternative land uses and for conservation management costs arise.

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Author:Tobias Plieninger
Document Type:Preprint
Date of Publication (online):2013/08/29
Release Date:2013/08/29
Agricultural landscape; Driving forces; Ecosystem services; Landscape dynamics
GND Keyword:Agrarlandschaft; Geoinformationssystem; Schwäbische Alb
Institutes:BBAW / Drittmittelprojekt Ökosystemleistungen
Dewey Decimal Classification:7 Künste und Unterhaltung / 71 Landschaftsgestaltung, Raumplanung / 710 Städtebau, Raumplanung, Landschaftsgestaltung