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A GIS Analysis of Landscape Categories and Sensitivity Levels for Evaluating Visual Impacts of N.I.M.B.Y. Technical Projects

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Abstract:

The present research was carried out in the context of a postgraduate thesis in the Technical University of Crete and its objective was to analyse the visual impacts of the Residual Waste Sanitary Landfill Site (RWSLS) in Akrotiri municipality, in Chania (Fig. 28-1). Visual impacts refer to the degrading of the aesthetics of a landscape. This specific RWSLS is situated at a distance of:

• 1.7 km from the nearest residential area,

• 20 km from the nearest Natura 2000 area GR-4340006,

• 3.6 km from the nearest archaeological site which is located in Sternes settlement and

• 4.8 km from an area of outstanding natural beauty (Papadaki 2005; Papastratou 2007).

It occupies 13 hectares (source: www.dedisa.gr).

Regarding the land uses, the zone closest to the landfill (0–2 km) includes: farmland, grazing/pasture land, sparse mesic land and barren mountainous areas. The middle zone of 2–5 km includes forest land, several farmland areas, several barren rocky areas and grazing land. In the distant zone of 5–7 km there are forest areas, farmland, grazing land and several barren mountainous areas. In the surrounding expanse there are no large forest areas or buildings of a sensitive nature, such as hospitals.

The analysis of the visual impacts was carried out by using a Geographic Information System (Goodchild et al. 2001; Bernhardsen 2002). The landscape of the Akrotiri municipality is classified into categories according to the landscape aesthetics matrix of the LMS model (Landscape Management System). The LMS model is a quantitative model for the evaluation of landscape aesthetics. Moreover, maps of the landscape sensitivity and landscape significance levels are created as well as maps of the landfill visibility. The appropriate combination of the above maps can lead to conclusions pertaining to the significance and sensitivity of areas in the Akrotiri municipality from which the landfill is visible. The methodology followed in the research can be applied to other manmade undertakings in the area with visibility impacts, such as mines, quarries, etc. (Gkoumas et al. 2008; Kalergis et al. 2008).

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5848/CSP.3107.00028

Publication date: January 1, 2011

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  • Natural Environment and Culture in the Mediterranean Region II
    The Mediterranean Basin is the largest of the five Mediterranean-climate regions, and one of the largest archipelagos in the world. The basin is located at the intersection of two major landmasses, Eurasia and Africa; and has around five thousand islands, which contribute much to its high diversity and spectacular scenery. This volume continues the analysis of the changes and impacts experienced by the native flora and fauna of the Basin first expounded in 'Natural Environment and Culture in the Mediterranean Region'.
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