Land use and land cover change (LULCC) dynamics have been particularly strong in the Mediterranean region, due to its historical development and to agro-pedoclimatic conditions favorable to human settlement. This area has undergone in the 1950s and the 1980s intense urbanization processes that has followed different trajectories. Urban expansion commonly occurs at the expense of agricultural land, leading to the fragmentation of natural areas and conflicts over access to land resources. These dynamics mainly concern the fringe between urban and agricultural land, e.g. the peri-urban areas usually included within functional urban regions. Here, to identify common features of LULCC in Western Mediterranean urban regions, we investigated two main features: direct changes due to urbanization and indirect changes affecting non-artificial land uses. We compared LULCC dynamics in 6 case studies from the north and south of the Western Mediterranean region: the urban regions of Montpellier and Avignon (France), Pisa (Italy), Madrid (Spain), Meknes (Morocco), and Constantine (Algeria), using a 30-year multitemporal spatial analysis (1980-2010). Two series of Landsat TM images were acquired for each case study and land cover data were analyzed both for dynamics and for land patterns, using landscape and class metrics. We found no significant north-south differences in LULCC dynamics between the investigated Western Mediterranean urban regions. Differences are more pronounced between small-medium cities and large metropolitan areas in type of urban diffusion, which is more sprawled in small-medium cities and more compact in large metropolitan areas. Rather, differences occur in LULCC not directly affected by urbanization, since in Northern Mediterranean urban regions afforestation and abandonment of agricultural areas are prevalent and closer to the urban areas, whereas transformation of natural areas into agricultural ones occurs mainly in Southern Mediterranean urban regions at a similar distance from urban areas than it happens for afforested or abandoned areas. In attempting for the first time to assess LULCC in these Mediterranean urban regions, we provide a preliminary comprehensive analysis that can contribute to the active LULCC research in the Mediterranean basin and that can be easily applied to other Mediterranean urban regions.
|Titolo:||Common features and different trajectories of land cover changes insix Western Mediterranean urban regions|
|Data di pubblicazione:||2015|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||1.1 Articolo su Rivista/Article|