Maintaining natural and traditional cultural green infrastructures across Europe: learning from historic and current landscape transformations

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Angelstam, P., Manton, M., Yamelynets, T. et al. Maintaining natural and traditional cultural green infrastructures across Europe: learning from historic and current landscape transformations. Landscape Ecol 36, 637–663 (2021).

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Title: Maintaining natural and traditional cultural green infrastructures across Europe: learning from historic and current landscape transformations
Author: Angelstam, Per; Manton, Michael; Yamelynets, Taras; Fedoriak, Mariia; Albulescu, Andra-Cosmina; Bravo, Felipe; Cruz, Fatima; Jaroszewicz, Bogdan; Kavratishvili, Marika; Munos-Rojas, Jose; Sijtsma, Frans; Washbourne, Carla-Leanne; Agnoletti, Mauro; Dobrynin, Denis; Izakovicova, Zita; Jansson, Nicklas; Kanka, Robert; Kopperoinen, Leena; Lazdinis, Marius; Metzger, Marc; van der Moolen, Bert; Özut, Deniz; Gjorgieska, Dori Pavlovska; Strydmets, Natalie; Tolunay, Ahmet; Turkogly, Turkay; Zagidullina, Asiya
Publisher: Springer Link
Date: 2020
Language: en
Belongs to series: Landscape Ecology 36 (2020)
ISSN: 0921-2973
Abstract: Context Maintaining functional green infrastructures (GIs) require evidence-based knowledge about historic and current states and trends of representative land cover types. Objectives We address: (1) the long-term loss and transformation of potential natural forest vegetation; (2) the effects of site productivity on permanent forest loss and emergence of traditional cultural landscapes; (3) the current management intensity; and (4) the social-ecological contexts conducive to GI maintenance. Methods We selected 16 case study regions, each with a local hotspot landscape, ranging from intact forest landscapes, via contiguous and fragmented forest covers, to severe forest loss. Quantitative open access data were used to estimate (i) the historic change and (ii) transformation of land covers, and (iii) compare the forest canopy loss from 2000 to 2018. Qualitative narratives about each hotspot landscape were analysed for similarities (iv). Results While the potential natural forest vegetation cover in the 16 case study regions had a mean of 86%, historically it has been reduced to 34%. Higher site productivity coincided with transformation to non-forest land covers. The mean annual forest canopy loss for 2000–2018 ranged from 0.01 to 1.08%. The 16 case studies represented five distinct social-ecological contexts (1) radical transformation of landscapes, (2) abuse of protected area concepts, (3) ancient cultural landscapes (4) multi-functional forests, and (5) intensive even-aged forest management, of which 1 and 4 was most common. Conclusions GIs encompass both forest naturalness and traditional cultural landscapes. Our review of Pan-European regions and landscapes revealed similarities in seemingly different contexts, which can support knowledge production and learning about how to sustain GIs.
Subject: cultural landscape
forest naturalness
green infrastructure
landscape history
land-sharing and land-sparing
social-ecological system
reference landscape
green infrastructure
historic landscape transformations
current landscape transformations
forest vegetation
case study
quantitative data
qualitative narratives
Pan-European region
Subject (ysa): kulttuurimaisema
metsän luonnollisuus
vihreä infrastruktuuri
maanjako ja maansäästö
sosiaaliekologinen järjestelmä
vihreä infrastruktuuri
kvantitatiivinen data
paneuroopan alue
paneurooppalainen alue
Rights: Open Access: This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit

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