Spatial pattern of landscape changes and consequence changes in species diversity between 1956-1999 of Pinus halepensis Miller plantations in Montes de Malaga State Park (Andalusia, Spain)


Changes in forest diversity and the transforma- tion of coniferous plantations into more natural woodlands are of special interest in the Medi- terranean. The aim of this study was to investi- gate changes in land use patterns and vegeta- tion cover from 1956 to 1999 in Pinus halepensis Miller plantations in Montes de Málaga State Park in southern Spain. At the landscape level, a FRAGSTAT analysis was performed using aerial photographs. At the community level, a total of 47 sample plots were analyzed. Field measure- ments indicated the presence of a total of 70 species in the different vegetation types sam- pled. Shannon-Wiener (H), and Simpson’s (D) diversity indices showed the greatest species richness in Aleppo pine plantations (H = 1.54 ± 0.2; D = 3.88 ± 0.6), while Holm oak stands in the forested areas (H = 1.37 ± 0.1; D = 3.35 ± 0.6) and agricultural land (H = 1.33 ± 0.01; D = 2.80 ± 0.03) had lower values. FRAGSTATS analyses at land- scape and community levels indicated increases in patch richness, patch number, and percent of landscape mainly for pine plantations, Holm oak forests and shrub habitats. Replacement of agri- culture by conifer plantations led to the homo- genization of landscape structure. This change has modified the landscape by facilitating the recovery of indigenous tree species including Holm oak, which will likely lead to the future establishment of native forests in this area. Our findings suggest that pine plantations could fa- vour woody species diversity by increasing abundance and species richness in contrast to the situation in non-forested agricultural land.

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Navarro-Cerrillo, R. , Guzmán-Álvarez, J. , Clavero-Rumbao, I. and Ceaceros, C. (2012) Spatial pattern of landscape changes and consequence changes in species diversity between 1956-1999 of Pinus halepensis Miller plantations in Montes de Malaga State Park (Andalusia, Spain). Open Journal of Ecology, 2, 154-165. doi: 10.4236/oje.2012.23019.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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