Historic land cover changes at Natura 2000 sites and their associated landscapes across Europe

C.A. Mucher, G.W. Hazeu, R. Swetnam, J. Pino, L. Halada, F. Gerard

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference paperAcademic


The Habitat Directive is a an important policy instrument for nature conservation in order to avoid the further loss of important European habitats and to reduce the amount of pressures on these habitats. The set-up of a effective network of Natura 2000 sites is the most important goal of the the Habitat and Bird Directive. In order to test the potential efficiency of this network in protecting landscapes from land use changes that have a significant impact on biodiversity, a historical analysis of land use changes over the last fifty years was undertaken for 71 Natura 2000 sites and their direct surroundings across the EU. The analysis of historical land use changes in and round Natura 2000 sites shows that conservation sites have a positive effect on reducing not only the speed of land cover changes but also on the types of land cover changes. Unfortunately, the speed of land cover changes outside protected sites does hardly slow down and causes increased isolation of protected sites and fragmentation of remaining habitats within the landscapes. There-fore, the landscapes in which the remaining habitats are embedded should receive more attention for conservation strategies. This paper has a primary focus on historical land cover changes not only directly inside and outside Natura 2000 sites across Europe but also at the scale of land cover changes within the associated landscapes and what does it implies for the future.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings 28th EARSeL Symposium: Remote Sensing for a Changing Europe, Istanbul, Turkey, 2 - 7 June, 2008
EditorsD. Maktav
Place of PublicationAmsterdam/Berlin/Tokyo/Washington
PublisherIOS Press
Publication statusPublished - 2008
EventRemote Sensing for a Changing Europe -
Duration: 2 Jun 20087 Jun 2008


ConferenceRemote Sensing for a Changing Europe


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