Social metabolism, landscape change and land-use planning in the Barcelona Metropolitan Region

Joan Marull, Joan Pino, Enric Tello, María José Cordobilla

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

127 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The present work explores the synergies between socio-metabolic energy use and landscape patterns, starting from the hypothesis that there is a complex and changing relationship between the efficiency in both the societal use of energy, and land-use, and the ecosystem functioning of the whole land matrix of the Barcelona Metropolitan Region (BMR). It first compares changes in the social metabolism (i.e. the total energy or material throughput of the economy) and in landscape structure and function from 1850 to the present in three municipalities of the Vallès county (N of the BMR), as a first attempt to establish a link between the societal uses of land and energy together with their impact on landscape patterns. Secondly, the study explores the role of natural versus rural landscapes on the maintaining of basic functional properties such as connectivity in the whole BMR. We base our analyses on parametric methodologies that describe both structural and functional properties of landscapes, aimed at assessing the landscape efficiency of both energy-use and land-use planning. The first comparison reveals that the simultaneous loss of energy efficiency and land-use efficiency from the mid-19th century to present can be tracked by changes in the functional landscape structure. The second study shows the importance of the traditional rural landscapes in maintaining the ecological quality of non-built-up land. In consequence, the organized complexity of the land system necessary to host biodiversity and basic ecological processes cannot be guaranteed if the agro-forestry mosaic is not taken into account, together with the network of protected areas. © 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)497-510
JournalLand Use Policy
Volume27
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2010

Keywords

  • Energy balance
  • Land-use planning
  • Landscape change
  • Landscape efficiency
  • Social metabolism

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