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The analysis of spatio-temporal forest changes (1775–2000) in Flanders (northern Belgium) indicates habitat-specific levels of fragmentation and area loss

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The analysis of spatio-temporal forest changes (1775–2000) in Flanders (northern Belgium) indicates habitat-specific levels of fragmentation and area loss. / De Keersmaeker, Luc; Onkelinx, Thierry; De Vos, Bruno; Rogiers, Nele; Vandekerkhove, Kris; Thomaes, Arno; De Schrijver, An; Hermy, Martin; Verheyen, Kris.

In: Landscape Ecology, 02.2015.

Research output: Contribution to journalA1: Web of Science-articleResearchpeer-review

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@article{74d645d235b04ae9913a4cbd5181c69c,
title = "The analysis of spatio-temporal forest changes (1775–2000) in Flanders (northern Belgium) indicates habitat-specific levels of fragmentation and area loss",
abstract = "Spatio-temporal forest changes can have a progressive negative impact on the habitat of species that need forest continuity, i.e. the continuous presence of forest. Long-term species data that demonstrate such an impact are often not available. Instead we applied a spatial analysis on maps of the historical and present-day forests, by calculating landscape indices that explain forest plant species diversity. We digitized for this purpose, forests in Flanders (northern Belgium, 13,500 km2) at four time slices (1775, 1850, 1904–1931, 2000) and created a map of forest continuity in 2000. The ecological relevance of the analysis was further enhanced by a site classification, using a map of potential forest habitat types based on soil–vegetation relationships. Our results indicated that, between 1775 and 2000, forests occupied 9.7–12.2{\%}of the total study area. If continuity was not taken into consideration, forest fragmentation slightly increased since 1775. However, only 16 {\%} of the forest area in 2000 remained continuously present at least since 1775 and is therefore called ancient forest (AF). Moreover, connectivity of forest that originated after 1775, called recent forest, was low and only 14{\%}was in physical contact with AF. The results were habitat-specific as forest on sites that are potentially suitable for a high number of slow-colonizing species, e.g. ancient forest plants, were affected most. We discuss that a GIS analysis of this kind is essential to provide statistics for forest biodiversity conservation and restoration, in landscapes with a dynamic and heterogeneous forest cover.",
author = "{De Keersmaeker}, Luc and Thierry Onkelinx and {De Vos}, Bruno and Nele Rogiers and Kris Vandekerkhove and Arno Thomaes and {De Schrijver}, An and Martin Hermy and Kris Verheyen",
year = "2015",
month = "2",
doi = "10.1007/s10980-014-0119-7",
language = "English",
journal = "Landscape Ecology",
issn = "0921-2973",
publisher = "Springer Science+Business Media",

}

RIS

TY - JOUR

T1 - The analysis of spatio-temporal forest changes (1775–2000) in Flanders (northern Belgium) indicates habitat-specific levels of fragmentation and area loss

AU - De Keersmaeker, Luc

AU - Onkelinx, Thierry

AU - De Vos, Bruno

AU - Rogiers, Nele

AU - Vandekerkhove, Kris

AU - Thomaes, Arno

AU - De Schrijver, An

AU - Hermy, Martin

AU - Verheyen, Kris

PY - 2015/2

Y1 - 2015/2

N2 - Spatio-temporal forest changes can have a progressive negative impact on the habitat of species that need forest continuity, i.e. the continuous presence of forest. Long-term species data that demonstrate such an impact are often not available. Instead we applied a spatial analysis on maps of the historical and present-day forests, by calculating landscape indices that explain forest plant species diversity. We digitized for this purpose, forests in Flanders (northern Belgium, 13,500 km2) at four time slices (1775, 1850, 1904–1931, 2000) and created a map of forest continuity in 2000. The ecological relevance of the analysis was further enhanced by a site classification, using a map of potential forest habitat types based on soil–vegetation relationships. Our results indicated that, between 1775 and 2000, forests occupied 9.7–12.2%of the total study area. If continuity was not taken into consideration, forest fragmentation slightly increased since 1775. However, only 16 % of the forest area in 2000 remained continuously present at least since 1775 and is therefore called ancient forest (AF). Moreover, connectivity of forest that originated after 1775, called recent forest, was low and only 14%was in physical contact with AF. The results were habitat-specific as forest on sites that are potentially suitable for a high number of slow-colonizing species, e.g. ancient forest plants, were affected most. We discuss that a GIS analysis of this kind is essential to provide statistics for forest biodiversity conservation and restoration, in landscapes with a dynamic and heterogeneous forest cover.

AB - Spatio-temporal forest changes can have a progressive negative impact on the habitat of species that need forest continuity, i.e. the continuous presence of forest. Long-term species data that demonstrate such an impact are often not available. Instead we applied a spatial analysis on maps of the historical and present-day forests, by calculating landscape indices that explain forest plant species diversity. We digitized for this purpose, forests in Flanders (northern Belgium, 13,500 km2) at four time slices (1775, 1850, 1904–1931, 2000) and created a map of forest continuity in 2000. The ecological relevance of the analysis was further enhanced by a site classification, using a map of potential forest habitat types based on soil–vegetation relationships. Our results indicated that, between 1775 and 2000, forests occupied 9.7–12.2%of the total study area. If continuity was not taken into consideration, forest fragmentation slightly increased since 1775. However, only 16 % of the forest area in 2000 remained continuously present at least since 1775 and is therefore called ancient forest (AF). Moreover, connectivity of forest that originated after 1775, called recent forest, was low and only 14%was in physical contact with AF. The results were habitat-specific as forest on sites that are potentially suitable for a high number of slow-colonizing species, e.g. ancient forest plants, were affected most. We discuss that a GIS analysis of this kind is essential to provide statistics for forest biodiversity conservation and restoration, in landscapes with a dynamic and heterogeneous forest cover.

U2 - 10.1007/s10980-014-0119-7

DO - 10.1007/s10980-014-0119-7

M3 - A1: Web of Science-article

JO - Landscape Ecology

JF - Landscape Ecology

SN - 0921-2973

ER -

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  • DeKeersmaeker_etal_2014_LandscapeEcology_online

    Submitted manuscript, 992 KB, PDF document

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