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Modelling and simulating change in reforesting mountain landscapes using a social-ecological framework

Abstract : Natural reforestation of European mountain landscapes raises major environmental and societal issues. With local stakeholders in the Pyrenees National Park area (France), we studied agricultural landscape colonisation by ash (Fraxinus excelsior) to enlighten its impacts on biodiversity and other landscape functions of importance for the valley socio-economics. The study comprised an integrated assessment of land-use and land-cover change (LUCC) since the 1950s, and a scenario analysis of alternative future policy. We combined knowledge and methods from landscape ecology, land change and agricultural sciences, and a set of coordinated field studies to capture interactions and feedback in the local landscape/land-use system. Our results elicited the hierarchically-nested relationships between social and ecological processes. Agricultural change played a preeminent role in the spatial and temporal patterns of LUCC. Landscape colonisation by ash at the parcel level of organisation was merely controlled by grassland management, and in fact depended on the farmer's land management at the whole-farm level. LUCC patterns at the landscape level depended to a great extent on interactions between farm household behaviours and the spatial arrangement of landholdings within the landscape mosaic. Our results stressed the need to represent the local SES function at a fine scale to adequately capture scenarios of change in landscape functions. These findings orientated our modelling choices in the building an agent-based model for LUCC simulation (SMASH - Spatialized Multi-Agent System of landscape colonization by ASH). We discuss our method and results with reference to topical issues in interdisciplinary research into the sustainability of multifunctional landscapes.
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Annick Gibon, David Sheeren, Claude Monteil, Sylvie Ladet, Gerard Balent. Modelling and simulating change in reforesting mountain landscapes using a social-ecological framework. Landscape Ecology, Springer Verlag, 2010, vol. 25 (2), pp.267-285. ⟨10.1007/s10980-009-9438-5⟩. ⟨hal-00745911⟩



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