A review of abandoned lands in Spain: from local landscapes to global management strategies

T. Lasanta, E. Nadal-Romero, M. Khorchani, A. Romero-Díaz

Abstract


Abandoned lands occupy extensive territories in some Spanish regions, particularly in mountain areas and semiarid environments. These lands originate very diverse landscapes depending on the climatic conditions, the age of abandonment, the management before and after abandonment, and the disturbances that they suffer during the post-abandoned process. These factors condition the plant succession and soil properties, producing contrasted ecosystems and landscapes, like forests, shrublands, grasslands and almost bare soils. This study reviews the current knowledge about land abandonment in Spain, with special reference to the spatial and temporal process of abandonment, the factors that originate different ecosystems, and landscapes in abandoned lands, and the implications of these factors in the provision of ecosystem services to society. Depending on the landscape generated and its management, different services would be provided, such as the quality and quantity of water resources, soil protection, carbon sequestration, levels of biodiversity, prevention and control of forest fires, pastoral resources, landscape aesthetics, and even the possibilities of securing population in the rural environment through extensive land uses.

Keywords


Plant succession; soil degradation; cultural landscape; ecosystem services; Mediterranean mountains; semiarid areas

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.18172/cig.4755

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