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Vegetation coverage change in the EU: patterns inside and outside Natura 2000 protected areas


TitleVegetation coverage change in the EU: patterns inside and outside Natura 2000 protected areas
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2014
AuthorsKallimanis AS, Touloumis K, Tzanopoulos J, Mazaris AD, Apostolopoulou E, Stefanidou S, Scott AV, Potts SG, Pantis JD
JournalBiodiversity and Conservation
ISBN Number09603115 (ISSN)
KeywordsAgriculture, conservation policy, Europe, FOREST, Land-cover change, Natura 2000, Protected Areas
Abstract

EU conservation policy is primarily based on the Natura 2000 network of protected areas (PAs). We analyzed the land-cover changes between 2000 and 2006 inside 25,703 Natura 2000 sites in 24 EU Member States, and compared them with those observed outside the PAs. At the EU level, 'Artificial surfaces' and 'Agricultural areas' exhibit lower rates of transformation within PAs than outside. 'Forests and semi-natural areas' marginally increased inside PAs, while they marginally decreased outside. In States that joined the EU before 2000, landscape transformation rates were low, and inside PAs 'Forest' preservation was accompanied with a shift from intensive agricultural practices 'Permanent arable land' to more diverse 'Agricultural mosaics'. In new Member States (most of them located in Eastern Europe), there was agricultural abandonment, with conversion to 'Artificial surfaces' or 'Natural vegetation', both within and outside PAs. Broad scale EU policies (like the Common Agricultural Policy) and socio-economic drivers (like the transition from planned to market economy) seem to be dominant factors in explaining land-cover transformations, while conservation policies may moderate these trends inside PAs.

URLhttp://download.springer.com/static/pdf/607/art%253A10.1007%252Fs10531-014-0837-9.pdf?auth66=1425462809_456ed727666f10e5dc860918208ef34b&ext=.pdf