Land use and land cover change and the effects on vulnerability to forest fire of counties in the mountains of Catalonia: From managing the land to managing a threat

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Abstract

© 2014 CSIC. Fire is one of the oldest and most efficient tools for managing land use in the Pyrenees and has contributed to shaping a landscape of great cultural and ecological diversity. Human actions affecting land cover have introduced certain changes that affect the role and our perception of forest fires, converting them from one of the normal processes of nature into a serious threat to ecosystems and to society. This study addresses the question: what specific changes in the Pyrenees have led to the current perception of forest fire as a risk or threat? Using GIS and statistical analysis, we conducted a quantitative assessment of land cover changes and we reviewed the forest fires that have occurred in the counties (comarques) of the Catalan Pyrenees between 1993-2007, in terms of seasonality and some characteristics of the territory as altitude, slope and orientation. The results shows that: a) land cover change tend to forestry and a more homogeneous landscape; b) most surface burned occurred in bush and clear forest, what is a sign of the trend of forest transition; c) there is a concentration of fires in winter ahead of summer and are located in accessible areas.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere001
JournalPirineos
Volume169
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2014

Keywords

  • Forest transition
  • Ignition points
  • Land use and land cover
  • Pyrenees

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