Understanding the long-term dynamics of forest transition: Fromdeforestation to afforestation in a Mediterranean landscape (Catalonia, 1868-2005)

Cervera Zaragoza, Teresa, Pino i Vilalta, Joan, Marull López, Joan, Padró i Caminal, Roc, Tello, Enric
As other Mediterranean areas, Catalonia has experienced a forest transition following rural abandonmentduring the last sixty years. The GIS reconstruction of three land-use maps of 1868, 1956 and 2005 showshow forests have encroached former cropland and pasture land from the 1950s onwards, after a previouswave of deforestation. Forest inventories reveal the overpressure exerted on woodlands up to the 1950s,and their poor ecological status in terms of age structure, diversity and maturity. They are prone to wild-fires, which in turn force a harvest of salvaged wood by a sudden forestry activity that entails a viciouscircle: the lack of a proper forest management increases wildfires, and leads to this sort of 'spasmodicforestry'. To overcome this situation, a sustainable forestry, combined with farming and extensive live-stock breeding are needed as a means to perform an active ecological restoration. Historical knowledgecan help in this task, by discovering the previous dynamics of current woodlands and providing a guid-ance to differentiate the scarce oldest forests from the ones that are younger as a result of the overuseexerted up to mid-20th century, and from many others that have regrown since the 1950s in abandonedsteep lands.
Repository: Recercat: Dipósit de la Recerca de Catalunya