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Modelling the rate of secondary succession after farmland abandonment in a Mediterranean mountain area

AuthorsPueyo, Yolanda ; Beguería, Santiago
KeywordsEnvironmental constraints
Logistic regression
Markov chains
Pinus sylvestris
Succession rate
Issue DateDec-2007
CitationLandscape and Urban Planning 83 (4): 245-254 (2007)
AbstractSecondary succession after farmland abandonment has become a common process in north Mediterranean countries, especially in mountain areas. In this paper, a methodology is tested which combines Markov chains and logistic multivariate regression to model secondary succession after farmland abandonment in environments where abiotic constraints play a major role, like mountain areas. In such landscapes, a decay in the succession rate with time is usually found, as the best locations are progressively occupied. This is frequently addressed using non-stationary Markov chains. Here, we test if the combination of logistic multivariate regression with Markov chains, however, allows for spatially distributed transitions probabilities based on abiotic factors and therefore, it is able to reproduce the preferential colonization of the most favourable locations. The model is tested in the Ijuez Valley in the Spanish Pyrenees, which underwent generalized land abandonment during the 1950s. Results confirm a substantial improvement in the prediction success of the Markov-logistic model when compared to the standard Markov chain approach. As a result, the decay in the succession rate can be successfully modelled. The specific results for our study area are discussed further in an ecological context. The methodology proposed is applicable to any landscape where vegetation dynamics are constrained by environmental factors. However, the inclusion of land use as an explanatory factor would be necessary in human-managed landscapes.
DescriptionThis study has been supported by the research projects PIRIHEROS-REN2003-08678/HID, CANOA-CGL2004-04919-C02-01, REN2002-04668 and CGL2005-01625/BOS, funded by CICYT (Spanish Ministry of Science and Technology) and by RESEL (Spanish Ministry of Environment). Personal support for Y.P. was provided by Government of Aragón and CSIC and personal support for S.B. was provided by the Spanish Government Secretary for Education and Universities and the European Social Fund.
Publisher version (URL)http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.landurbplan.2007.04.008
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