The relative dependence of Spanish landscape pattern on environmental and geographical variables over time
AbstractThe analysis of the dependence of landscape patterns on environment was carried out in order to investigate the landscape structure evolution of Spain. The underlying concept was that the dependence between landscape spatial structure and environmental factors could be gradually decreasing over time. Land cover data were recorded from aerial photo interpretation of 206 4 × 4 km2 samples from three different years: 1956, 1984 and 1998. Geographical variables were taken into consideration together with the purely environmental ones. General Linear Models of repeated measures were then used to segregate environmental from geographical effects on the pattern of the land cover patches of the samples. Aridity, lithology and topography were the environmental factors used to analyse structural indices of landscape. Landscape composition has a higher dependence on environment than configuration. Environmental variables showed higher correlations with landscape composition and configuration than geographical variables. Among them, overall the climatic aridity and topography significantly accounted for more variation than did lithology. There was a high degree of stability in land cover composition over time, with some significant exceptions. Nevertheless, the registered increase of fragmentation over time has demonstrated that configuration measures are needed to fully assess landscape change.
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