rss_2.0Journal of Landscape Ecology FeedSciendo RSS Feed for Journal of Landscape Ecology of Landscape Ecology 's Cover Connectivity of Naturally Valuable Habitats in the Jeseníky Protected Landscape Area<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>This paper focuses on evaluating the functional connectivity of naturally valuable habitats within the territory of the Jeseníky Protected Landscape Area (PLA). Analysis of functional connectivity was carried out for individual zones of classified nature preservation. The methodological approach that is applied is based on determining indicators for expressing the degree of the natural character of individual landscape segments (Nd), the distance to naturally valuable habitats (Dn), and a composite index Distance to Nature (D2N). The results for the individual zones and the PLA as a whole are mutually compared and consequently confronted with values for the territory of the entire Czech Republic. All three research questions, i.e. whether naturally valuable habitats prevail in the most valuable area in the first protected zone of the Jeseníky PLA, whether the distance to naturally valuable habitats in the first zone of the Jeseníky PLA is the shortest, and whether the territory of the Jeseníky PLA is better functionally interlinked when compared with the remaining territory of the Czech Republic (CR), were answered positively. The results highlight the need to assess the connectivity of natural habitats in the least protected zones of other PLAs in the Czech Republic and EU, to decide whether planning measures to support the ecological network are necessary.</p> </abstract>ARTICLE2022-09-08T00:00:00.000+00:00Analysing Effects on Ground Water Levels Due to Conversion of Rural to Urban Landscapes<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>Greater NOIDA evolved from 1991 with 101 villages to 2020 with 293 villages. This is an ideal case of rural to urban transformation in the immediate past. This transformation led to a decrease in recharging natural surfaces and an increase in impermeable surfaces. Along with the reduction in recharge areas, an increase in population has necessitated more and more extraction of groundwater resulting in an imbalance of water extraction and recharge. The result is depletion of groundwater levels in this area. The area is part of the wide Indo-Gangetic alluvium with sand, silt and clay layers resting on quartzite’s of Delhi Super Group. Geomorphological map prepared using digital elevation models of the area shows older and younger alluvial plains and active flood plains of the river Hindan. Time series analysis of key land use land cover classes shows that recharge areas were reduced from 77 % to 30 % from 2005 to 2019 and impervious surfaces have increased from 19 % to 65 % for the same period. Aquifers of the area are both phreatic and semi-confined. The aquifer parameters estimated through step drawdown test and long duration aquifer performance test indicates that the average coefficient of transmissivity of the area is 1752 m<sup>2</sup>/day and the average coefficient of storage is 4.84 x 10-4. Discharge of the wells shows a yield of 8 to 16 lps for a drawdown of 3 to 6 m. An attempt has been made to know the behaviour of groundwater levels during the same period as that of land use land cover. The results indicate a 74 % depletion in groundwater levels with an average annual depletion of 21 %. An interrelationship between urban growth and groundwater levels has been established in this study. This analysis indicates that as agriculture declined water levels also depleted and have a positive correlation of 0.852. On the contrary, as the built-up increased water level has depleted hence have a negative relationship with a correlation coefficient of -0.851. To make it a sustainable resource, these overexploited aquifers need careful participatory management by communities, Scientists, and policymakers.</p> </abstract>ARTICLE2022-09-08T00:00:00.000+00:00Comparison of Woody Species Diversity and Population Structure Along Disturbance Gradient in Babile Elephant Sanctuary, Ethiopia<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>The study was conducted at Babile Elephant Sanctuary (BES), to identify and document the list of woody species, and to analyze the diversity, richness, evenness, and population structural status of woody species. The diversity of plant species and population structure of woody species were analyzed from 60 quadrats, each with 20 m x 20 m for trees and 5 m x 5 m for shrubs and climbers, using systematic sampling methods with three levels of disturbances regime, namely, low disturbed (LD), moderately disturbed (MD) and heavily disturbed (HD) sites. Vegetation parameters such as diameter at breast height (DBH), richness, evenness, and density of woody species were recorded. Shannon Weiner Diversity Index was used to analysis vegetation diversity and evenness. A total of 61 woody species were identified in the study area that falls within 29 families and 38 genera of which 50.8 % were shrubs, 39.3 % were trees and the rest 9.83 % were climbers. Fabaceae was represented by the highest number of species (14 species = 22.90). The highest plant species richness was recorded from the low disturbed sites, followed by moderately disturbed and heavily disturbed sites respectively. The population density of vegetation was significantly higher in the MD site, followed by the LD site. The total basal area of LD, MD, and HD were 27.2, 19.8, and 11.2 m<sup>2</sup>/ha, respectively. LD site had significantly (P= 0.04) highest Shannon’s diversity index value (3.21) than the others two disturbance levels. This result suggests that the consequence of human-induced disturbance on woody species diversity and population structure appeared to be negative depending on the type and intensities of the disturbances.</p> </abstract>ARTICLE2022-09-08T00:00:00.000+00:00Impact of Land Use/Land Cover Change on Soil Retention Service:<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>Globally, urbanization changes land use/land cover (LULC) and alters ecosystem functions and services. Soil retention (SR) is a critical ecological service that is strongly related to LULC change. The topic of this study is assessment of LULC change on soil retention service (SRS) in a fragile seminatural-urbanized landscape of the Jajrood basin in Northern Tehran, Iran, from 2000 to 2020. To achieve the goal, the LULC maps and the other relevant datasets were imported into the Integrated Valuation of Ecosystem Services and Trade-offs tool (InVEST) using the Universal Soil Loss Equation (USLE). Calibration and validation were performed using Goodness-of-fit test for observational and modeled data. The results revealed that LULC change had both negative and positive effects on SR. The built-up area increased dramatically by about 133 percent, while the rangeland shrunk by approximately 5 % during the twenty-year, leading to an increase in soil erosion and reducing SR. On the other hand, the agricultural and gardening activities expanded by 41 %, which caused an increment in SR. Due to the outgrowth of man-made areas compared to the other land uses, the overall SR decreased by about 17,000 tons. Moreover, the result indicated that slope, elevation, and land management factors, respectively, had the highest correlation with SRS. The finding of this research can provide insight to land use planners to protect the areas with high soil erosion.</p> </abstract>ARTICLE2022-09-08T00:00:00.000+00:00An English Life in Landscape: Watching Landscape Research Over Half a Century<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>From a largely autobiographical perspective, the development of the European concept of landscape is considered through the last fifty years, focussed on the gap between the environmental idea which has progressively become more ecological, so the landscape idea has become much more cultural. When they work together, there can be outstanding results, as demonstrated in the European Landscape Award. However, what seemed to be an unsteady progress towards a common understanding of cultural landscape can still receive dramatic shocks. The Pandemic is one such shock which has just begun to be absorbed into landscape thinking, and now the cosy concept of national and regional landscape identities is shattered yet again, by invasion, immigration and displacement.</p> </abstract>ARTICLE2022-06-23T00:00:00.000+00:00Modeling and Mapping of Soil Water Erosion Risks in the Srou Basin (Middle Atlas, Morocco) Using the EPM Model, GIS and Magnetic Susceptibility<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>The Oued Srou watershed located in the Middle Atlas Mountain of Morocco has been a subject of serious soil erosion problems due to the combination of natural factors and anthropic activities. Therefore, soil erosion hazard assessment and mapping can be handy to initiate remedial measures in the area. In this study, the improved Erosion Potential Model (EPM) integrated with GIS and remote sensing techniques is employed to map and assess the vulnerability of the Oued Srou watershed to the water erosion phenomenon and its impact on the silting of the Ahmed El Hansali dam. The results of the EPM model showed that the maximum annual soil loss rates were in the range of 5-652 m<sup>3</sup>/km<sup>2</sup>/year, with an average of 49 m<sup>3</sup>/km<sup>2</sup>/year. The delivery coefficient ratio showed that about 34433 t/year of the sediments reach the outlet of the watershed. The correlation analysis between all erosion factors revealed the following order of their importance in the water erosion control: soil sensitivity to erosion, soil protection, slope, erosive state, temperature, and rainfall. The magnetic susceptibility provided results on the evolution of soils; it showed that the most degraded soils had a high erosion rate. Generally, the stable soils not eroded showed an upward increase of magnetic susceptibility values in soil profiles; the evolution of magnetic susceptibility of degraded soils is disturbed. The magnetic susceptibility has also made it possible to highlight the source zones of sediments that reach the outlet of the watershed.</p> </abstract>ARTICLE2022-06-23T00:00:00.000+00:00Changing Sensitivity of Diverse Tropical Biomes to Precipitation Consistent with the Expected Carbon Dioxide Fertilization Effect<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>Global environmental changes have implications for the terrestrial ecosystem functioning, but disentangling individual effects remains elusive. The impact of vegetation responses to increasing atmospheric CO<sub>2</sub> concentrations is particularly poorly understood. As the atmospheric CO<sub>2</sub> concentration increases, the CO<sub>2</sub> acts as a fertilizer for plant growth. An increase in atmospheric CO<sub>2</sub> reduces the amount of water needed to produce an equivalent amount of biomass due to closing or a narrowing of the stomata that reduces the amount of water that is transpired by plants. To study the impacts of climate change and CO<sub>2</sub> fertilization on plant growth, we analyzed the growing season sensitivity of plant growth to climatic forcing from alpine to semi-desert eco-climatic zones of Ethiopia for various plant functional types over the period of 1982–2011. Growing season 3<sup>rd</sup> generation Normalized Difference Vegetation Index of Global Inventory Modeling and Mapping Studies (NDVI) was used as a proxy of plant growth, while mean growing season precipitation (prec), temperature (temp), and solar radiation (sr) as the climate forcing. The sensitivities of plant growth are calculated as a partial correlation, and a derivative of NDVI with respect to prec, temp and sr for earliest and recent 15-year periods of the satellite records, and using a moving window of 15-year. Our results show increasing trends of plant growth that are not explained by any climate variables. We also find that an equivalent increase in prec leads to a larger increase in NDVI since the 1980s. This result implies a given amount of prec has sustained greater amounts of plant foliage materials over time due to decreasing transpiration with increasing CO<sub>2</sub> concentration as expected from the CO<sub>2</sub> fertilization effect on water use efficiency and plant growth. Increasing trends of growth in shallow-rooted vegetation tend to be associated with woody vegetation encroachment.</p> </abstract>ARTICLE2022-06-23T00:00:00.000+00:00Urban Green Space Planning and Development in Urban Cities Using Geospatial Technology: A Case Study of Noida<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>Urban planning, with special attention to green space development, offers a relatively simple and low-cost solution to the impacts of climate change and urbanization faced by urban centres. The present work examines the spatial variability of availability of adequate sites for the development of urban green amenities in Noida city. Multi-criteria assessment of potential locations has been accomplished using Analytical Hierarchical Process coupled with geospatial technology. Urban land use, physiographic factors (slope and elevation), accessibility (proximity to roads), and presence of grey, green and blue amenities (Normalised Difference Built-up Index, Normalised Difference Vegetation Index and proximity to water bodies, respectively) are the seven key criteria used to derive the final green space suitability map. A total of 46.47 % of the land was found to be in the category of highly and moderately suitable for greening the city, highlighting the potential of developing different forms of green spaces in the area. Such holistic city scale analysis of availability of potential sites for green space development can be utilised by the city administrators and urban planners for future land use planning and improving the distribution and spatial connectivity of the green spaces in the city with the common goals of better health, a cleaner environment, and climate change mitigation.</p> </abstract>ARTICLE2022-06-23T00:00:00.000+00:00A Look Into the History of Landscape Research in Czechia. Landscape in Natural and Social Sciences, Attempts at an Interdisciplinary Approach<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>Self-reflection is important for every scientific discipline and the study of landscape is no exception. Indeed, landscape is connected in some way to both the natural and social sciences, as well as the and humanities as see in art and architecture.</p> <p>This review analyses the development of landscape research by scientific institutions in the contemporary Czech Republic. It is an attempt to provide a thematic and historical review of its often very complicated development. The study is organized thematically and a chronological order is used for each topic. The topics covered are: The cultural formation of the “Phenomenon of the Czech landscape”; The formation of the approach to landscape in natural sciences; “Phenomenon of the Czech landscape” in architecture; Landscape in institutionalized form in the Academy of Sciences; Landscape outside the Academy of Sciences, and; “Phenomenon of the Czech landscape” in social sciences.</p> <p>Archived documents from the former Institute of Landscape Ecology of the Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences, the primary thematic studies of individual authors and secondary studies reflecting the development of the field itself were used for the development of this thematic and historical review. These sources were refined where possible through guided semi-structured interviews with eyewitnesses and written correspondence.</p> <p>The results show two strong centres of landscape ecology: Institute of Landscape Ecology of the former Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences (ČSAV) in Prague formed out of its forerunners in 1971 which is associated with the name of Emil Hadač and relocated to České Budějovice, where it ceased to exist in 2010. Another centre is set up in Brno at the Geographical Institute of the Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences in Brno at the Mendel University of Brno (Antonín Buček, Jan Lacina).</p> <p>The cultural character and intertwining natural and cultural components of the landscape play an important role in understanding the specific aspects of the scientific study of landscape in our country. This was the basis of the initial scientific reflections of the forerunners of landscape ecology in biological sciences (Bohumil Němec, Julius Stoklasa), in nature conservation (Jan Svatopluk Procházka) and in architecture (Karel Honzík, Ladislav Žák). This interdisciplinary character of landscape research persists in many institutions and organizations to this day, including the Czech branch of the International Association for Landscape Ecology IALE - CZ.</p> <p>It is a great paradox of our time that landscape and landscape ecology has ceased to be institutionally represented in the structure of the Czech Academy of Sciences. In conclusion, we ask the question about the reasons for this development and whether landscape research can be restored in the structure of the Academy of Sciences of The Czech Republic.</p> </abstract>ARTICLE2022-06-23T00:00:00.000+00:00A Review on Climate Change Impacts on Forest Ecosystem Services in the Mediterranean Basin<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>The Mediterranean Basin covers more than 2 million square kilometres and is surrounded by three continents: Africa, Asia and Europe. The Basin that is rich in biodiversity has tilted towards warmer and drier conditions over the last decades. The emerging climatic conditions particularly the increase in the number of climate extremes are bringing new threats and risks that will exacerbate existing pressures. The present study thoroughly reviewed the recent scientific literature and synthesized existing body of knowledge on the impacts (direct and indirect) of climate change on forest ecosystem services in the Mediterranean Basin. Despite many uncertainties about climate change in the Basin, there appears to be a consensus among a number of studies that climate change is having and will continue to have mostly negative impacts on the Mediterranean forest ecosystem services (wood and non-wood forest products, water resources, carbon storage and recreation and tourism) with possible substantial impacts in the future. Further, evidence is mounting that climate-induced natural disturbances (fires, insect pests, and pathogenic diseases) are becoming frequent and severe. The Mediterranean plants are known for their resilience to natural disturbances. However, the novel climatic conditions may exceed their resilience and alter the ecosystem services. Therefore, there is the need to mitigate the challenges posed by climate change and adapt forest management practices to impending changes to sustain the forest ecosystem services.</p> </abstract>ARTICLE2022-06-23T00:00:00.000+00:00Assessment of Local Knowledge About Land Use Relevant to Landscape Planning in a Case Study Area in Lowland Slovakia<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>Public perception and knowledge of land use changes, and preferences for future landscape development, can contribute to planning processes at different levels from the local to the national. Participatory processes and use of local knowledge are necessary for precise planning purposes and management of public affairs. This paper analyses the results of sociological research with regard to landscape development in Nová Vieska village in the Podunajská nížina lowland in Slovakia. The survey aimed to analyse the answers of local inhabitants and key stakeholders in the field of perception of land-use changes and their causes and biodiversity changes since 1990, as well as expectations of future land use and the driving forces of rural development. Local inhabitants were more likely to perceive changes in the productive parts of the study area (the decline of orchards and gardens, overgrowth of meadows and pastures, etc.), while key stakeholders perceived a broader range of changes in land use. According to the local inhabitants, the disintegration of cooperative farms was the main cause of the land use changes, and unsettled land ownership is the biggest obstacle to development of agricultural production. Key stakeholders cited economic, environmental (climate change) and social causes (ageing of population, change of life style, etc.) as the most important factors in land use change and they also perceived them as the most important obstacles for agricultural development. Local inhabitants (as well as key stakeholders) wished for an increase of the proportion of managed meadows and pastures, gardens, orchards, wetlands and non-forest vegetation, but they expect the opposite trend. The results confirmed that public knowledge of landscape development could provide substantial useful information for future development planning.</p> </abstract>ARTICLE2022-06-23T00:00:00.000+00:00Assessing the Vulnerability to Land Degradation of (Not Only) Rural Landscapes Using the ESAI Index<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>Determining the vulnerability of land to degradation is a crucial factor enabling policy makers to take targeted actions. The main aim of this work was to determine vulnerability to land degradation using the Environmentally Sensitive Area Index (ESAI) in the territory of 206 municipalities with extended power (MEPs), regions (NUTS 3) and in the Czech Republic (CR). The other two aims were found out i) whether land degradation is affected by land use characterized by landscape types according to Löw <italic>et al</italic>. (2006) and ii) whether land degradation occurred in larger territorial units (regions) or scattered across the CR (in individual isolated MEPs). The Environmentally Sensitive Area (ESA) method assesses the vulnerability of an area to land degradation using a composite index containing indicators divided into four thematic groups: human activity pressure and management intensity, vegetation cover and vegetation quality, climate, and soil in the assessed area. The ESAI index is expressed on a semi-quantitative scale ranging from the lowest levels of degradation (land not affected and land potentially affected by degradation) to the highest level of degradation (land at high risk). Most MEPs with a share of more than 70 % of their area were in the category "moderately critical areas" at risk of land degradation were located in the Central Bohemia region (15 MEPs) and in the South Moravia region (14 MEPs). For the whole territory of the Czech Republic, 51 % of the territory was found to be critically vulnerable to land degradation, and 38 % of the republic area was vulnerable to land degradation. Vulnerability to land degradation was strongly influenced by the landscape type. Almost all MEPs with a predominantly agricultural landscapes were critically vulnerable to land degradation, as were about half of the MEPs in the forest-agricultural and urban landscapes and only a few MEPs in the forest landscapes. Given the selected indicators, the MEP seems to be the appropriate smallest administrative unit to assess vulnerability to land degradation in the Czech Republic. The map of individual ESAI values can be viewed free of charge online at <ext-link ext-link-type="uri" xmlns:xlink="" xlink:href=""></ext-link>. We are currently preparing a proposal for appropriate measures to prevent and reduce land degradation throughout the territory of the Czech Republic, and our proposals are coordinated with representatives of the MEPs and regions.</p> </abstract>ARTICLE2022-01-18T00:00:00.000+00:00Landscape Painting in the Research of Landscape Changes<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>The article analyses possibilities of using landscape paintings in the studies of land cover changes. It examines 112 paintings from 1728 till 1976 and compares them with existing topographic maps. It compares land cover depicted in the paintings with present landscape and it studies changes of landscape derived from topographic maps from several periods, ranging from 1764 till 2006. In order to make the analyses, all paintings had to be localised as precisely as possible. This was done with the help of present map and by field work. Field work was also necessary for identifying main land use/cover changes in comparison to landscape painting. A TopoLandUse database, consisting of land use vector data from five periods, based on vectorisation of topographical maps, was used for analysing land use/land cover changes, their rates and main trends.</p> <p>Comparison of landscape paintings with topographic maps showed overall agreement between both types of sources. Paintings often capture details that cannot be found in the maps, thus enriching gained data. They can also serve as a source for periods from which no maps and other cartographic sources exist. However, paintings are as reliable as the painter makes them.</p> <p>Comparison of landscape in the paintings with the present landscape showed general extensification and abandonment of the landscape, which manifested mainly in the increase of woody vegetation and decrease of arable land. Analyses of land cover changes in the surrounding cadastres in several periods confirmed general trends that can be seen in not only the Czech Republic but also elsewhere in Europe. These are mainly spread of both woody vegetation and permanent grassland at the detriment of arable land but also increase in built-up and recreational area in the settlements.</p> </abstract>ARTICLE2022-01-18T00:00:00.000+00:00Landscape Changes of Rural Protected Landscape Areas in Czechia: From Arable Land to Permanent Grassland – From Old to New Unification?<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>The Czech rural landscape is a subject of research because it is affected by both intensification and extensification of land cover. This landscape was influenced in recent decades by political and socio-economic changes; we studied how these changes were reflected in the land cover development in protected areas. We selected ten Protected landscape areas (PLAs) with a significant share of open agricultural landscape and focused on land cover changes from the 1950s till the present with four milestones (1950s, 1990, 2004-2006, 2016-2019). Based on vectorised land cover data, analyses of land cover changes, land cover flows and landscape structure were performed.</p> <p>More than one third of the studied area had changed. Forests dominated and enlarged its extent (from 39 % to 47 %); land cover flow (LCF) from arable land to permanent grassland was the largest process during study period (17% of study area) and it expanded after 1990. Other major LCF is forest spreading on permanent grassland (5 %) and arable land (3 %).</p> <p>Trends of landscape metrics describing landscape structure are ambiguous and differ between PLAs. In total, Shannon’s diversity index (<italic>SDI</italic>), Shannon’s evenness index (<italic>SEI</italic>), and Mean Patch Size (<italic>MPS</italic>) increased and Number of Patches (<italic>NumP</italic>) decreased. <italic>SDI</italic> and <italic>SEI</italic> show improvement through time; however increasing anthropogenic areas are considered as factor contributing to this positive trend, despite the negative role of these categories in ecological stability. <italic>MPS</italic> and <italic>NumP</italic> show ongoing homogenization and unification of the landscape; however it differs between PLAs, with some having more favourable conditions and trends towards higher landscape heterogeneity.</p> <p>To conclude, homogenous landscape structure remains present in Czech rural PLAs; however, there has been a huge shift to more extensive agricultural land cover, which is similar to some European protected areas.</p> </abstract>ARTICLE2022-01-18T00:00:00.000+00:00Land Use Changes in the Alpine Tree Line Ecotone in the Hrubý Jeseník Mountains (Czech Republic)<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>Currently, we expected a altitudinal shift of forest vegetation upward under predicted climate changes impacts to European mountains ecosystems. In this context can be very interesting, that changes in alpine tree line ecotone in high European mountains were induced by human activities relatively often also in history. Probably one of the most important driver in land-use changes in high mountains was grazing, which significantly have influenced both mountain spruce forests and open alpine grasslands in central-Europe. This paper deals with historical changes of land-use in Hruby Jesenik Mountains (Czech Republic) during 19<sup>th</sup> and 20<sup>th</sup> centuries. Results revealed consequences of former grazing in mountain grasslands above alpine tree line ecotone in the frame of land-use analyses based on historical maps and other sources. These results, based on historical data, support our better understanding to current dynamic changes in European mountain landscapes.</p> </abstract>ARTICLE2022-01-18T00:00:00.000+00:00Vascular Plant Biodiversity of Floodplain Forest in Morava and Dyje Rivers Confluence (Forest District Soutok), Czech Republic<abstract><title style='display:none'>Abstract</title><p>This paper presents an evaluation of full-area floristic investigation of floodplain forests in Soutok forest district (Židlochovice Forest State Enterprise) based on an individual forest stand inventory. The study area encompasses 5103 ha of forests, where 1186 segments were inventoried, and 71 223 single records about presence of vascular plant species were done. We found 761 taxa (species, subspecies and hybrids), out of which 655 were herbs, 106 woody plants, 156 were endangered species and 177 adventive species. The average area of a segment was 4.3 ha. The mean number of species per segment was 64.42 in a range of 4–180.</p></abstract>ARTICLE2019-02-14T00:00:00.000+00:00Invasion of Schrader’s Bromegrass () and Expansion of the Cairo Suburban Land: are they in Coincidence?<abstract><title style='display:none'>Abstract</title><p>Set of phytocoenological records obtained in nineties of the twentieth century from extensively farmed patches and/or grasslands dominated by invasive grass <italic>Bromus catharticus</italic> in suburban area of Cairo, Egypt, is related to running and perspective expansion of this vegetation formation in the “city ecotone” at the metropolitan boundry.</p></abstract>ARTICLE2019-02-14T00:00:00.000+00:00Forest Fragmentation and Connectivity in Virginia Between 2001 and 2011<abstract><title style='display:none'>Abstract</title><p>With an annual population growth rate currently estimated at about 5 %, Virginia presents an ideal case study for anthropogenic environmental disturbances. Urbanization as a result of increasing human activities has led to fragmentation of many crucial habitats, especially forests. Analysis of the extent to which forest fragmentation and connectivity have occurred in Virginia and corresponding changes associated with these processes, is relevant for conserving forest habitats and the biodiversity that they support. This study applies FRAGSTATS, a software system developed to assess forest fragmentation and connectivity, in combination with ArcGIS, to identify changes in forest patch metrics for Virginia over a ten-year interval (2001, 2006 and 2011) using National Land Cover Datasets (NLCD) maps as data source. Results show that, over ten years, forest patches have significantly declined in size, while the number of forest patches and total length of edge areas have increased over time. Results of this study show that road density in Virginia has no significant effect on forest fragmentation between 2001 and 2011. Analysis using ArcGIS revealed that sizes of core forest areas in Virginia are declining, and that these reductions match local topographic slope. This is because the steepness of the slope of an area dictates the degree of human activities in that area. These results suggest that urban sprawl associated with areas with gentler slopes, may have significant, long-term consequences for natural forest ecosystems and ultimately, biodiversity conservation.</p></abstract>ARTICLE2019-02-14T00:00:00.000+00:00The Ecology of British Upland Landscapes. I. Composition of Landscapes, Habitats, Vegetation and Species<abstract><title style='display:none'>Abstract</title><p>A primary requirement for policy objectives is reliable figures on the composition of any region. Currently there is no comprehensive, definitive set of statistics for the British Uplands, hence the present paper. An overview of the background to the region is first provided, together with some examples of the available figures and a discussion of their limitations. The paper uses a formal structure, with landscapes at the highest level followed by habitats, then vegetation, and finally species, with exact definitions of the categories applied at all levels. The figures are produced from a survey of stratified, random one kilometre squares. The tables give comprehensive figures for Great Britain (GB) as a whole, and also England, Wales and Scotland.</p><p>The Uplands are shown to cover 38 % of the country. In terms of UK Broad Habitats, Bog is the most common overall (2062 k ha). It is estimated that 41 % of upland vegetation in Britain is grazed by sheep, and <italic>Cervus elephus</italic> (red deer) are particularly evident in Scotland. Walls (mainly drystone) are the most important linear feature (84 k km) but hedgerows (30 k km) are also widespread. The major vegetation classes are those linked to moorlands and bogs (about 25 %) but those associated with fertile soils are also common (10 %). In terms of species, <italic>Potentilla erecta</italic> (tormentil) is the most frequent species with four other acid grassland species in the top ten. <italic>Calluna vulgaris</italic> (ling heather) has the highest cover in Great Britain (14.8 %).</p></abstract>ARTICLE2019-02-14T00:00:00.000+00:00The Ecology of British Upland Landscapes. Ii. The Influence of Policy on The Current Character of The Uplands and The Potential for Change<abstract><title style='display:none'>Abstract</title><p>The paper demonstrates that the British Uplands have been influenced to a great extent by policy - for example, the planting of almost a million hectares of exotic conifers since the Second World War, and the extent of designated areas. Otherwise, climate change transcends policy and is locally important to coastal and high mountain habitats. The different policies affecting the Uplands, such as the Common Agricultural Policy, are described, as are the wide range of designations such as National Parks, which may have a stabilising effect in times of great change. A new trend has started in Scotland in the last 20 years of local initiatives, such as the community ownership of Eigg, however large landowners still dominate. An impact table is presented of the habitats that make up the Uplands and their links to driving forces, with potential changes described that are likely to take place under future policies such as Brexit. Dwarf shrub heath is the habitat affected by many management drivers, whereas habitats such as Inland Rock, are relatively stable but most likely to be affected by climate change.</p></abstract>ARTICLE2019-02-14T00:00:00.000+00:00en-us-1