Forested landscapes dynamics in relation to forest fire occurrence in peninsular Spain: 1987-2000
AbstractForest fires play a determinant role in landscape configuration, that is, the type and the spatial distribution of major land cover types in large areas of Spain. One possible way to evaluate this role is by means of the comparison between the area affected by forest fires and changes in land cover types during a certain type period. Based on the importance of wildland fires during the last decades in Spain it is expected a strong relationship between landscape changes and fire occurrence. In order to validate this hypothesis we have analysed the relationship between the changes in land cover types identified in the two land cover classifications carried out until now in the European programme CORINE Land Cover (CLC) and fire occurrence in peninsular Spain for a similar time period. The analyses are based on non parametric correlations and in a canonical ordination analysis between several fire variables and the different types of land cover change in which the dynamic of forested landscapes has been resumed according to the two land cover classification used: CLC-1990 and CLC-2000. The territorial units used are the division of Spain in agrarian counties and the reference period the 14 years spanned between the satellite images used in each classification. Focussing of the forested area, the more important changes detected are the changes from woodland to non-woodland (21%), from non-woodland to woodland (23%) and changes between the different types of land-cover included in the non-woodland class (22%). These three types of changes, that accounted for a 66% of changes in forested areas, have been the more related to fire occurrence. The results show a strong relation between both processes. We have obtained statistically significant results in the correlation and also in the multivariate redundancy analyses. These results confirm the determinant role that fires have played, and certainly will play, in the vegetation dynamic of regions each time more prone to fire such as peninsular Spain.
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