University of Twente Student Theses


Bush Encroachment Pattern in Montane Abandoned Farmland of Majella, Italy

Tesfai, Abraham (2010) Bush Encroachment Pattern in Montane Abandoned Farmland of Majella, Italy.

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Abstract:Shrub encroachment is perceived as a problem in different parts of the world. It has been recognized by different writers as undermining the productive capacity of grassland ecosystems. One of the main concerns of Majella national park management is conservation of biodiversity of grassland in the park. This thesis is aimed at identifying and mapping the main encroachers and investigating their relationship with the current and historic land uses and also distance to the forest edge in the montane grassland of Majella national park. The park is one of the largest parks in Europe covering 74,095 ha. It is located in eastern Italy (UTM Zone 33 N: 411235m E, 4634626m N; 433155m E, 4674766m N). The specific study area, the montane grassland, ranges from 1000 m up to 1700 m a.s.l and covers an area of about 2400 ha. Aerial photos of 2007 were used for mapping of shrub encroachment. Field work was conducted from September 6 up to October 2 to collect primary data of cover types, current land use, and water and tholos location points. The data for historical land use was extracted from the aerial photos of 2007. Statistical relationship between land cover types (encroachers) and current land use, historical land use and distance from the forest edge was tested using descriptive and Chi square statistics. The obtained result revealed that Juniper (Juniper communis), Bracken fern (Pteridium aquilinum), Rosa (Rosa canina) and mixed forest are the main invaders of the area. In the current land use Juniper and Rosa seem to be more dominating in the grazed area (69.2%, 64.3%) than currently not grazed area (30.8%, 35.7 %). Bracken and mixed forest are dominant in the currently grazed area (71.4 %, 100 %) compared to currently not grazed area (29.6%, 0%). In historical land uses Juniper and fern are invading more in the abandoned crop land (64%, 78.6%) compared to abandoned pasture land (36%, 21.4 %). The encroachment from the mixed forest is more dominant in abandoned pasture land (83.3%) and minimal in the abandoned crop land (16.7%). Looking at the encroachment level when both the current and historical land uses are combined, Juniper (42.3%) and Rosa (35.7 %) are more invading into the abandoned pasture land currently grazed. Mixed forests (83.3 %) are more dominating abandoned pasture land currently not grazed. Bracken fern (44.8%) is invading on the abandoned crop land currently not grazed. In general the study shows us there is a trend of encroachment into the abandoned farm lands.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:ITC: Faculty of Geo-information Science and Earth Observation
Programme:Geoinformation Science and Earth Observation MSc (75014)
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