Comparative Analysis of Tourism Influence on Landscape Structure in Mallorca Using Remote Sensing and Socio-Economic Data Since the 50s

  • G. Banko
  • R. Elena
  • T. Wrbka
  • C. Estreguil
Part of the Forestry Sciences book series (FOSC, volume 76)


One of the main driving forces for changes in landscape structure and composition in Mediterranean islands like Mallorca is the extensive mass tourism. The direct influences on the spatial distribution of land cover types like the vast spreading of secondary houses, golf courses and road infrastructure can be observed in municipalities like Calvia, located nearby the coast in the vicinity of the capital city Palma. The indirect effects of tourism — due to changes in the socio-economic structure — cause the abandonment of old traditional agro-silvo-pastoral activities. The ageing of population in rural areas and the growing working opportunities in the tourist centres lead to a shortage in manpower for traditional forms of agriculture. These indirect changes effect mostly the rather remote municipalities like Escorca in the mountainous areas of the island. Using aerial images form the 50s to 90s the decline of extensively managed terraced fields of crops and olives as well as the major changes due to forest expansion could be documented in two communities (Calvia and Escorca) representing the opposed trends in landscape development. Especially the terraced fields, which expressed for a long time the sustainable use of land on the island, are threatened by the decline of management leading to walls crumbling and the erosion of valuable fields. In addition satellite images from the 80s and 90s provided an overall picture of landscape changes and enabled the assessment of the influence of these changes on biodiversity. Spatial indicators derived from remote sensing data are an essential tool to aggregate information on the landscape development and provide the base for monitoring these changes. This information is necessary to increase the awareness of the landscape changes and their effects on natural resources and to help to implement adequate policies for a sustainable land management.


Landscape Structure Landscape Metrics Landscape Element Landscape Type Terrace Field 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • G. Banko
    • 1
  • R. Elena
    • 2
  • T. Wrbka
    • 3
  • C. Estreguil
    • 4
  1. 1.Department for nature protectionFederal Austrian Environment AgencyViennaAustria
  2. 2.Escuela Universitaria de Ingenieria Tecnica Forestal, Departamento de SilvopasciculturaUniversidad Politécnica de MadridMadridSpain
  3. 3.Institute for Ecology and nature conservationUniversity ViennaViennaAustria
  4. 4.Institute for Environment and Sustainability, Land Use and Land Cover UnitJoint Research CentersIspra, VareseItaly

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