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Land Use Changes in Iberian Peninsula 1990–2012

Fernández-Nogueira, David, Corbelle-Rico, Eduardo
Land 2018 v.7 no.3
cluster analysis, forests, land cover, land use change, landscapes, urbanization, Iberian Peninsula, Portugal, Spain
This work aims to provide a comprehensive, wall-to-wall analysis of land use/cover changes in the continental areas of Portugal and Spain between 1990 and 2012. This overall objective is developed into two main research questions: (1) Whether differences between the extent and prevalence of changes exist between both countries and (2) which are the hotspots of change (areas where a given land use/cover transition dominates the landscape) in each country. We used Corine Land Cover in three different points in time (1990, 2000, 2012) to explore eight characteristic land cover transitions and carried out a cluster analysis at LAU2 level (municipalities in Spain, parishes in Portugal) that allowed to identify the areas in which each transition was dominant. The main findings include the decline of agricultural area and the increase of urbanized and artificial covers in both countries, but different trends followed by forest cover, with an increase in Spain and a decrease in Portugal. At the same time, the spatial analysis provided an overview of the main gradients of change related to tensions between agricultural intensification–extensification, on the one hand, and deforestation–afforestation, on the other.