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Regional-scale land-cover change during the 20th century and its consequences for biodiversity.

Cousins SA, Auffret AG, Lindgren J, Tränk L - Ambio (2015)

Bottom Line: Extensive changes in land cover during the 20th century are known to have had detrimental effects on biodiversity in rural landscapes, but the magnitude of change and their ecological effects are not well known on regional scales.Semi-natural grassland cover decreased by over 96 % in the study area, being largely lost to afforestation and silviculture.An analysis of the landscape-level biodiversity revealed that plant species richness was generally more related to the modern landscape, with grazing management being a positive influence on species richness.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Biogeography and Geomatics, Department of Physical Geography, Stockholm University, 106 91, Stockholm, Sweden, sara.cousins@natgeo.su.se.

ABSTRACT
Extensive changes in land cover during the 20th century are known to have had detrimental effects on biodiversity in rural landscapes, but the magnitude of change and their ecological effects are not well known on regional scales. We digitized historical maps from the beginning of the 20th century over a 1652 km(2) study area in southeastern Sweden, comparing it to modern-day land cover with a focus on valuable habitat types. Semi-natural grassland cover decreased by over 96 % in the study area, being largely lost to afforestation and silviculture. Grasslands on finer soils were more likely to be converted into modern grassland or arable fields. However, in addition to remaining semi-natural grassland, today's valuable deciduous forest and wetland habitats were mostly grazed grassland in 1900. An analysis of the landscape-level biodiversity revealed that plant species richness was generally more related to the modern landscape, with grazing management being a positive influence on species richness.

No MeSH data available.


Land-cover trajectories for the different subcategories of semi-natural grassland to broad current land-cover types between 1900 and 2013 over a 1652 km2 study area in southeastern Sweden. Note that the area of dedicated pasture was relatively small in 1900, compared to islets and wood pasture where the majority of grazing took place
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Fig4: Land-cover trajectories for the different subcategories of semi-natural grassland to broad current land-cover types between 1900 and 2013 over a 1652 km2 study area in southeastern Sweden. Note that the area of dedicated pasture was relatively small in 1900, compared to islets and wood pasture where the majority of grazing took place

Mentions: The land-cover trajectories of semi-natural grassland between 1900 and today were related to both the subcategory of grassland and soil properties. The vast majority of grazed pasture became forest, while meadows were more likely to become arable field or modern grassland (Fig. 4). Islets, which were grazed in 1900, are now either isolated in arable fields or have been incorporated into the land cover surrounding these small habitats. With regards to soil, the distribution of semi-natural grasslands as a whole did not appear to change dramatically between 1900 and 2013 (Fig. 5). Broad soil types were divided quite evenly between bedrock, finer sediments, and the larger till and sand fractions, with a smaller area of organic peat and gyttja. However, dividing the semi-natural grasslands into those primarily used for grazing and haymaking showed that haymaking usually occurred on finer soils, whereas grazing took place on coarse-grained soils.Fig. 4


Regional-scale land-cover change during the 20th century and its consequences for biodiversity.

Cousins SA, Auffret AG, Lindgren J, Tränk L - Ambio (2015)

Land-cover trajectories for the different subcategories of semi-natural grassland to broad current land-cover types between 1900 and 2013 over a 1652 km2 study area in southeastern Sweden. Note that the area of dedicated pasture was relatively small in 1900, compared to islets and wood pasture where the majority of grazing took place
© Copyright Policy - OpenAccess
Related In: Results  -  Collection

Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4288995&req=5

Fig4: Land-cover trajectories for the different subcategories of semi-natural grassland to broad current land-cover types between 1900 and 2013 over a 1652 km2 study area in southeastern Sweden. Note that the area of dedicated pasture was relatively small in 1900, compared to islets and wood pasture where the majority of grazing took place
Mentions: The land-cover trajectories of semi-natural grassland between 1900 and today were related to both the subcategory of grassland and soil properties. The vast majority of grazed pasture became forest, while meadows were more likely to become arable field or modern grassland (Fig. 4). Islets, which were grazed in 1900, are now either isolated in arable fields or have been incorporated into the land cover surrounding these small habitats. With regards to soil, the distribution of semi-natural grasslands as a whole did not appear to change dramatically between 1900 and 2013 (Fig. 5). Broad soil types were divided quite evenly between bedrock, finer sediments, and the larger till and sand fractions, with a smaller area of organic peat and gyttja. However, dividing the semi-natural grasslands into those primarily used for grazing and haymaking showed that haymaking usually occurred on finer soils, whereas grazing took place on coarse-grained soils.Fig. 4

Bottom Line: Extensive changes in land cover during the 20th century are known to have had detrimental effects on biodiversity in rural landscapes, but the magnitude of change and their ecological effects are not well known on regional scales.Semi-natural grassland cover decreased by over 96 % in the study area, being largely lost to afforestation and silviculture.An analysis of the landscape-level biodiversity revealed that plant species richness was generally more related to the modern landscape, with grazing management being a positive influence on species richness.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Biogeography and Geomatics, Department of Physical Geography, Stockholm University, 106 91, Stockholm, Sweden, sara.cousins@natgeo.su.se.

ABSTRACT
Extensive changes in land cover during the 20th century are known to have had detrimental effects on biodiversity in rural landscapes, but the magnitude of change and their ecological effects are not well known on regional scales. We digitized historical maps from the beginning of the 20th century over a 1652 km(2) study area in southeastern Sweden, comparing it to modern-day land cover with a focus on valuable habitat types. Semi-natural grassland cover decreased by over 96 % in the study area, being largely lost to afforestation and silviculture. Grasslands on finer soils were more likely to be converted into modern grassland or arable fields. However, in addition to remaining semi-natural grassland, today's valuable deciduous forest and wetland habitats were mostly grazed grassland in 1900. An analysis of the landscape-level biodiversity revealed that plant species richness was generally more related to the modern landscape, with grazing management being a positive influence on species richness.

No MeSH data available.