Main content area

A territorial approach to assess the transition to trellis vineyards in special protection areas for steppe birds in Spain

Montero García, F., Brasa Ramos, A., Montero Riquelme, F., Carsjens, G.J.
Land use policy 2017 v.67 pp. 27-37
birds, geographic information systems, habitat fragmentation, models, modernization, socioeconomics, steppes, sustainable land management, vineyards, viticulture, Spain
Traditional vineyards in Spain are being upgraded to trellis vineyards. A key question is to what extent the transition to trellis vineyards is compatible with the environmental preservation goals in Special Protection Areas. This paper presents a GIS-based model to assess the suitability of Special Protection Areas for the development of trellis systems. The model was applied in a Special Protection Area for steppe birds in Castilla-La Mancha, Spain, a region with the largest concentration of vineyards in the world. The model includes three components: (1) a vineyard structure analysis, (2) an analysis of habitat fragmentation, and (3) a suitability analysis. The results showed that 50.9% of the study area, including 82.1% of the existing vineyards, was classified as suitable for transition to trellis systems. In the remaining unsuitable areas an increase in trellis systems should be avoided. The model is a stepping stone for improving the sustainable land use development of Mediterranean agricultural landscapes. Further research is needed to include wider socio-economic and environmental consequences of modernizing viticulture practices.