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Land Use Guidelines to Maintain Habitat Diversity of Wood- Pastures in the Southern Carpathians Under Projected Climate Change

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Landscape Online, Volume 74, p.1 - 24 (2019)



<p>The biodiversity of wood-pastures depends on a balance between human interference and natural vegetation succession, which however is undergoing changes driven by socio-economic factors and climate change. Widely spread throughout Europe, wood-pastures were subject to either intensification or abandonment, leading to habitat segregation and loss. This is currently the fate of large Romanian remnant woodpastures and climate warming further complicates management adaptation.<br />
In a series of simulation experiments, we compared the long-term effects of different land use and climate change scenarios on the habitat diversity of a wood-pasture in the Southern Carpathians (Fundata village, Romania). We tested livestock densities according to management guidelines, complemented with shrub-cutting in order to maintain a structurally-diverse landscape with high habitat values in the light of climate change. We found that significant losses of open pastureland and inclusion into forest, as well as landscape structural simplification and loss of complex habitats can be expected from climate warming, with more severe consequences in a hotter climate perspective. We arguefor the re-establishment of the traditional multi-use of wood-pastures at optimum livestock densities in combination with low-intensity shrubcutting, because our study demonstrated that traditional practices offer a balanced compromise between agricultural use and maintaining habitat mosaics that are robust to climate change.</p>