Peri-urban Mediterranean landscapes preserve high-quality environments with biodiversity strictly dependent on relict forests and mixed agroforest systems. The assessment of long-term land-use changes at the urban-wildland interface is particularly interesting for policies coping with natural land conservation and management. The dynamics of Mediterranean fringe forests were rather mixed over the last century alternating decline due to deforestation and clear-cutting up to World War II and a recovery afterwards. Forest transition theory (FTT) has been used to describe a turnaround in land-use trends for a given territory from a period of net forest area loss to a period of net forest area gain. The present paper analyses forest expansion in Rome’s province in the light of the FTT using diachronic maps, which cover two time intervals (1936–1974 and 1974–2006) corresponding to distinct socioeconomic contexts at the local scale. Our results indicate a slight increase in forest areas along the whole study period owing to natural reforestation following the abandonment of agricultural land and the higher level of forest protection. Geographically weighted regression indicates the growing importance of the urban gradient in forest dynamics. This may reflect settlement dispersion and higher disturbance to forests due to soil sealing, wildland fires, habitat fragmentation, cropland abandonment, and invasive species increase. The tendency towards a more mixed and heterogeneous woodland structure at the urban-wildland interface, especially in coastal areas, should be contrasted through sustainable land management practices integrating urban planning and environmental policies into a unique strategy for the protection of relict agroforest systems.

Forest transition and urban growth: exploring latent dynamics (1936-2006) in Rome, Italy, using a geographically weighted regression and implications for coastal forest conservation

SALVATI, LUCA;FERRARA, Agostino Maria Silvio
2015

Abstract

Peri-urban Mediterranean landscapes preserve high-quality environments with biodiversity strictly dependent on relict forests and mixed agroforest systems. The assessment of long-term land-use changes at the urban-wildland interface is particularly interesting for policies coping with natural land conservation and management. The dynamics of Mediterranean fringe forests were rather mixed over the last century alternating decline due to deforestation and clear-cutting up to World War II and a recovery afterwards. Forest transition theory (FTT) has been used to describe a turnaround in land-use trends for a given territory from a period of net forest area loss to a period of net forest area gain. The present paper analyses forest expansion in Rome’s province in the light of the FTT using diachronic maps, which cover two time intervals (1936–1974 and 1974–2006) corresponding to distinct socioeconomic contexts at the local scale. Our results indicate a slight increase in forest areas along the whole study period owing to natural reforestation following the abandonment of agricultural land and the higher level of forest protection. Geographically weighted regression indicates the growing importance of the urban gradient in forest dynamics. This may reflect settlement dispersion and higher disturbance to forests due to soil sealing, wildland fires, habitat fragmentation, cropland abandonment, and invasive species increase. The tendency towards a more mixed and heterogeneous woodland structure at the urban-wildland interface, especially in coastal areas, should be contrasted through sustainable land management practices integrating urban planning and environmental policies into a unique strategy for the protection of relict agroforest systems.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11563/101893
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