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EVALUATING THE ROLE OF A PROTECTED AREA ON HEDGEROW CONSERVATION: THE CASE OF A SPANISH CULTURAL LANDSCAPE

Land Degradation & Development

Abstract

Hedgerows are key features in agricultural landscapes performing diverse functions that are both economically and ecologically significant. Here, we quantify how the characteristics of a relict hedgerow network of a Spanish cultural landscape (Guadarrama mountains in the north of Madrid region) have changed over a single decade both inside and outside the boundaries of a Protected Area, the aim of which is to conserve cultural uses and biodiversity. A gradient of abandonment of pasture systems was detected, including a decline and loss of woody species from hedgerows associated with grazed areas towards shrub encroachment zones. These tendencies were similar inside and outside the boundaries of the Protected Area. The results highlight the management weaknesses of the Protected Area in order to achieve its objectives. Based on the results, we propose to include a specific conservation status for hedgerow landscapes in the regulatory framework of Spanish protected areas. Copyright (C) 2016 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Author(s): Schmitz, MF; Herrero-Jauregui, C; Arnaiz-Schmitz, C; Sanchez, IA; Rescia, AJ; Pineda, FD

Journal: Land Degradation & Development

Year: 2017

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