The current state of Mediterranean mountain areas has been driven by two main factors: intense traditional human activity and the dynamics of the ecosystem itself. In this study, we examine land-cover changes in a National Park in the Pyrenees mountains (NE Iberian Peninsula), which was designated a protected area 55 years ago. First, we have analyzed spatio-temporal changes in land-cover pattern and forest dynamics from 1957 to 2005. During this period, land-cover dynamics consisted of two main processes: (i) expansion of the forest area and (ii) increasing cover of forests already present in 1957. To analyze the role of the conservation level of the park, we have also compared the results obtained within the park with those of unprotected, peripheral areas. In the two areas with different protection level, dense forests increased throughout the period because of the reduction in forestry activities. The peripheral area showed a higher rate of forest-cover change from 1957 to 2005 compared to the National Park. This higher increase in forest cover in the peripheral area could be related to a higher proportion in the National Park of screes and rocky areas and to the decline and transformation of forest activities in these peripheral, lower elevation areas. © 2010 Springer-Verlag.
|Journal||Regional Environmental Change|
|Publication status||Published - 1 Jun 2011|
- Forest cover
- Forest dynamics
- Land-use changes
- Mountain areas
- National Park