Influence of agropastoral system components on mountain grassland vulnerability estimated by connectivity loss
Financiación FP7 / Fp7 Funds
Resumen: Over the last decades, global changes have altered the structure and properties of natural and semi-natural mountain grasslands. Those changes have contributed to grassland loss mainly through colonization by woody species at low elevations, and increases in biomass and greenness at high elevations. Nevertheless, the interactions between agropastoral components; i.e., ecological (grassland, environmental, and geolocation properties), social, and economic components, and their effects on the grasslands are still poorly understood. We estimated the vulnerability of dense grasslands in the Central Pyrenees, Spain, based on the connectivity loss (CL) among grassland patches that has occurred between the 1980s and the 2000s, as a result of i) an increase in biomass and greenness (CL-IBG), ii) woody encroachment (CL-WE), or iii) a decrease in biomass and greenness (CL-DBG). The environmental and grassland components of the agropastoral system were associated with the three processes, especially CL-IBG and CL-WE, in relation with the succession of vegetation toward climax communities, fostered by land abandonment and exacerbated by climate warming. CL-IBG occurred in pasture units that had a high proportion of dense grasslands and low current livestock pressure. CL-WE was most strongly associated with pasture units that had a high proportion of woody habitat and a large reduction in sheep and goat pressure between the 1930s and the 2000s. The economic component was correlated with the CL-WE and the CL-DBG; specifically, expensive pastures were the most productive and could maintain the highest rates of livestock grazing, which slowed down woody encroachment, but caused grassland degradation and DBG. In addition, CL-DBG was associated with geolocation of grasslands, mainly because livestock tend to graze closer to passable roads and buildings, where they cause grassland degradation. To properly manage the grasslands, an integrated management plan must be developed that includes an understanding of all components of the agropastoral system and takes into account all changes that have occurred in dense mountain grasslands. Addressing the problems individually risks the improvement of some grasslands and the deterioration of others.
Idioma: Inglés
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0155193
Año: 2016
Publicado en: PloS one 11, 5 (2016), 0155193 [21pp]
ISSN: 1932-6203

Factor impacto JCR: 2.806 (2016)
Categ. JCR: MULTIDISCIPLINARY SCIENCES rank: 15 / 63 = 0.238 (2016) - Q1 - T1
Factor impacto SCIMAGO: 1.236 - Agricultural and Biological Sciences (miscellaneous) (Q1) - Medicine (miscellaneous) (Q1) - Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology (miscellaneous) (Q1)

Financiación: info:eu-repo/grantAgreement/EUR/FP7/ENV2009-2132
Tipo y forma: Article (Published version)
Área (Departamento): Área Análisis Geográfico Regi. (Dpto. Geograf. Ordenac.Territ.)

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