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The use of digital aerial photography and CORINE-derived methodology for monitoring recent and historic changes in land cover near UK Natura 2000 sites for the BIOPRESS project

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BIOPRESS - Linking pan-European land cover change to pressures on biodiversity - is a European Community Framework 5 project, which aims to develop a standardised product that will link quantified historical (1950-2000) land cover change to pressures on biodiversity. It exploits archived historic and recent aerial photographs (a data source that has remained consistent over the last 60 years) to assess land cover change around Natura 2000 sites within 30×30 km windows and 15×2 km transects. The CORINE (Coordination of Information on the Environment) land cover mapping methodology has been adapted for use with aerial photographs. Sample sites are mapped to CORINE Land Cover (CLC) classes, and then backdated to assess change. Results from eight UK transects (and associated windows) are presented. Changes in land cover classes are interpreted as pressures: urbanisation, intensification, abandonment, afforestation, deforestation and drainage. Urbanisation was the major pressure in all but two transects (both in the uplands), and intensification was of similar importance in most transects. Afforestation was a significant pressure in two transects. In six out of the eight transects, annual change was greater in the 1990-2000 period than in the 1950-1990 period. The methodology has been demonstrated to provide quantitative results of long-term land cover change in the UK rural landscape at a spatial scale that is relevant to management decisions. The methods are transferable and applicable to a wide range of landscape studies.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Section for Earth Observation, CEH Monks Wood, Abbots Ripton, Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, PE28 2LS, UK 2: Lancashire Rural Futures, Lancashire County Council, Leyland, Lancashire, PR26 6TY, UK 3: CEH Lancaster, Lancaster Environment Centre, Bailrigg, Lancaster, LA1 4AP, UK

Publication date: 2007-01-01

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