Quantifying landscape pattern and assessing the land cover changes in Piatra Craiului National Park and Bucegi Natural Park, Romania, using satellite imagery and landscape metrics
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Protected areas of Romania have enjoyed particular importance after 1989, but, at the same time, they were subject to different anthropogenic and natural pressures which resulted in the occurrence of land cover changes. These changes have generally led to landscape degradation inside and at the borders of the protected areas. In this article, 12 landscape metrics were used in order to quantify landscape pattern and assess land cover changes in two protected areas, Piatra Craiului National Park (PCNP) and Bucegi Natural Park (BNP). The landscape metrics were obtained from land cover maps derived from Landsat Thematic Mapper (TM) and Landsat Enhanced Thematic Mapper Plus (ETM+) images from 1987, 1993, 2000, 2009 and 2010. Three land cover classes were analysed in PCNP and five land cover map classes in BNP. The results show a landscape fragmentation trend for both parks, affecting different types of land covers. Between 1987 and 2010, in PCNP fragmentation was, in principle, the result not only of anthropogenic activities such as forest cuttings and illegal logging but also of natural causes. In BNP, between 1987 and 2009, the fragmentation affected the pasture which resulted in the occurrence of bare land and rocky areas because of the erosion on the Bucegi Plateau.
KeywordsFragmentation Landscape metrics Landscape pattern Satellite images
The author would like to thank the management of Piatra Craiului National Park and Bucegi Natural Park for their assistance in obtaining the material. Also, the author would like to express his gratitude to the two anonymous reviewers for their pertinent observations and comments and to Claudia Ciubancan for her support with the English language.
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