JME 2006

JME 2006


Geometries in Landscape Ecology

J.P. Fernandes, N. Guiomar, A.P. Soares

In the process of landscape characterization a diversified sets of geometries need to be considered. These geometries include Land Use geometry with its permanent shifting of the habitat mosaic, Natural Resources geometry depicting the available natural resources and their degree of affectation by land uses, as well as the manifold geometries associated with the different ecological patterns and processes in the landscape (target species, fragile areas, etc.) and Socio-Economical and Political geometries and how decision making at this level reflects in the other geometries. GIS spatial analysis and modelling allows the integration of these geometries with other variables, and allows the development of simulation models for the evaluation of alternative land use scenarios, assessing the sensitivity of biodiversity indicators within different scenarios, and the integrated evaluation of the effects of different development scenarios on biodiversity, economy and cultural aspects. Examples are given on the basis of an ongoing research on Large Scale Grazing Systems (LACOPE)

Keywords: GIS, Spatial Analysis and Geographic Modeling, Landscape Planning, Livestock Systems

Ecological study of the urban allergenic flora of central Italy

Emanuela Ciferri, MariacristinaTorrisi, Lara Staffolani & Krunica Hruska

Comparative analysis of allergenic potential, conducted in different urban ecosystems of central Italy, utilizing the species allergen index (SAI), revealed the differences among various urban ecosystems. Allergophyte presence and abundance are influenced by the type and duration of anthropogenic intervention, correlated to the ecological conditions of the individual urban areas and to the level of stability attained. The geographic position of the city and the layout of the urban surfaces present here are also important for the presence of the allergenic flora. The characteristic urbanistic layout of central Italian cities, which is the result of the historical and cultural vicissitudes of the human population, facilitates the establishment of allergophytes. A rich allergenic flora was found on the ancient city enclosure walls with a great risk for the inhabitants suffering from allergies. The influence of the geographic-climatic gradient on the quality of the urban allergenic contingent was observed. The group of strongly allergenic species was found in both the coastal and the hilly-vegetation belt cities. The dynamic contacts with the surrounding ecosystems and ecotonal areas are more accentuated in the cities situated in the internal, hilly zone of the territory studied. Here different potentially allergenic species coming from the surrounding ecosystems become part of the urban flora. The abundance of this flora is noted in the unstable areas of the periphery, where numerous moderately allergenic species were established too. The renewal of the allergenic flora of a city happens thus from within, through the introduction of exotic species in the cultivated areas, and from without, through the spontaneous establishment of plants from surrounding ecosystems. The results obtained can be utilized to indicate the parts of the urban territory which are not suitable for the permanence of persons who suffer from allergic diseases, in order to improve their life quality.

Keywords: allergophytes, allergen index, central Italy, ecological characteristics, urban ecosystem.

Landscape Typology in the Mediterranean context: A tool for habitat restoration

I.N. Vogiatzakis, G.H. Griffiths, M.T. Melis, A. Marini, M.B.Careddu

Despite the wide use of Landscape Character Assessment (LCA) as a tool for landscape planning in NW Europe, there are few examples of its application in the Mediterranean. This paper reports on the results from the development of a typology for LCA in a study area of northern Sardinia, Italy to provide a spatial framework for the analysis of current patterns of cork oak distribution and future restoration of this habitat. Landscape units were derived from a visual interpretation of map data stored within a GIS describing the physical and cultural characteristics of the study area. The units were subsequently grouped into Landscape Types according to the similarity of shared attributes using Two Way Indicator Species Analysis (TWINSPAN). The preliminary results showed that the methodology classified distinct Landscape Types but, based on field observations, there is a need for further refinement of the classification. The distribution and properties of two main cork oak habitats types was examined within the identified Landscape Types namely woodlands and wood pastures using Patch Analyst. The results show very clearly a correspondence between the distribution of cork oak pastures and cork oak woodland and landscape types. This forms the basis of the development of strategies for the maintenance, restoration and recreation of these habitat types within the study area, ultimately for the whole island of Sardinia. Future work is required to improve the landscape characterisation , particularly with respect to cultural factors, and to determine the validity of the landscape spatial framework for the analysis of cork oak distribution as part of a programme of habitat restoration and re-creation.

Keywords: Sardinia, cork oak, GIS, landscape character assessment

Environmental modifications induced by the practice of “Artificial snow-making”

Gianumberto Caravello, Elena Crescini, Serena Tarocco and Fabio Palmeri

In this present paper, for studying the phenomenon of artificial snowmaking and its effects on the environment, the skiing area of Obereggen – Val d’Ega (Alto Adige/ Sudtirol – Italy) was chosen, in correspondence with the hydrographic basin of the San Floriano stream, where some artificially snowed ski runs are to be found. So as to produce a multiscalar study of the environmental effects of artificial snowmaking, the analyses have been carried out on three different levels. The upper level to ascertain a general picture on a large scale (climate, vegetation, geology, fauna and human settlements); on the middle level the territorial transformations have been studied through the application of indexes of Landscape Ecology; at the lower level snowed runs and the near-by meadows have been compared, applying abiotic and biotic indicators (earth-worm populations). The evolutive study of the landscape seems to show that the Obereggen area has diversified its structure and while abiotic parameters measured on samples of meadows and on samples of ski runs agree about results, a relative difference in biotic indicators has been recorded.

Keywords: multiscalar analysis, biotic indicators, landscape ecology, ski run, snow

Extensification trends in Mediterranean land use systems: does the landscape

Anne M. Van Doorn

This paper explores the landscape dynamics of two areas in the south east of the Portuguese Alentejo region by systematic comparisons of land cover maps of 1958, 1985 and 2000, which were for this purpose derived from aerial photographs. The study consists of 2 separate analysis: 1) detection of processes of extensification through analysis of land cover class transitions with the use of transition matrices; 2) monitoring landscape composition and configuration through the application of a set of landscape metrics. The results show clear changes during the past forty years in landscape composition and configuration. The landscape metrics display a trend towards a more fragmented, complex, fine-grained landscape. Most widespread land cover changes were transformations from arable / grassland to other land cover categories, such as montado, forest plantations and matorral. The shift from arable/grassland to land cover classes dominated by woody species suggests an extensification of agricultural practices. The results are partly consistent with the generally assumed trends in Mediterranean landscapes: extensification of land use being a main process. However, contrary to what is often observed and assumed, this process is associated with a trend towards a more fine grained and fragmented landscape.

Keywords: Heterogeneity; montado; landscape change; landscape metrics; transition matrices.