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Reforestation of Alpine Grasslands in South Tyrol : assessing spatial changes based on Landsat data 1986-2016

Oberhollenzer, Petra LU (2017) In Student thesis series INES NGEK01 20171
Dept of Physical Geography and Ecosystem Science
Abstract (Italian)
Le Alpi stanno attraversando costanti cambiamenti del paesaggio a causa dei moderni cambiamenti socio-economici. Soprattutto gli ecosistemi di prati e pascoli alpini sono minacciati dal lento abbandono delle tradizioni di alpicoltura. Questo influenza non solo la biodiversità ma anche l'importante panorama culturale visto come un prezioso patrimonio nelle Alpi. Il paesaggio della provincia alpina settentrionale Alto Adige è attualmente colpito da un processo di ripopolamento lento di questi ecosistemi unici.
Lo scopo principale di questo studio ecologico del paesaggio era quello di valutare il valore di un approccio di telerilevamento basato su immagini satellitari. Geograficamente, lo studio è limitato all'area agricola utilizzabile tra... (More)
Le Alpi stanno attraversando costanti cambiamenti del paesaggio a causa dei moderni cambiamenti socio-economici. Soprattutto gli ecosistemi di prati e pascoli alpini sono minacciati dal lento abbandono delle tradizioni di alpicoltura. Questo influenza non solo la biodiversità ma anche l'importante panorama culturale visto come un prezioso patrimonio nelle Alpi. Il paesaggio della provincia alpina settentrionale Alto Adige è attualmente colpito da un processo di ripopolamento lento di questi ecosistemi unici.
Lo scopo principale di questo studio ecologico del paesaggio era quello di valutare il valore di un approccio di telerilevamento basato su immagini satellitari. Geograficamente, lo studio è limitato all'area agricola utilizzabile tra i 1000 e i 2000 m sul livello del mare all'interno della provincia dell'Alto Adige. Questo telerilevamento del cambiamento del paesaggio è stato ottenuto grazie all'impiego pubblico di immagini Landsat (5-8) che forniscono questo studio con registrazioni di alta qualità nell'area di focus negli anni 1986, 2000, 2011 e 2016.
Il metodo di classificazione supervisionata elaborato per questa analisi specifica ha permesso di valutare spazi di ecosistemi di prati in relazione alle foreste all'interno del contesto geografico e temporale. I cambiamenti paesaggistici evidenti sono stati visualizzati attraverso mappe ed è stata eseguita un'ulteriore analisi della tendenza per quanto riguarda la distribuzione delle praterie alpine in malghe basse (<1300 m s.l.m.), malghe centrali (1300-1800 m s.l.m.) e malghe alte (> 1800 m s.l.m.). Come parte di questo studio si potrebbe confermare che le praterie alpine appartenenti alle alte Alpi sono maggiormente colpite dai cambiamenti di copertura del terreno sia in analisi a lungo termine (30 anni) sia in un periodo intermedio (14 e 16 anni). (Less)
Abstract
The Alps are undergoing constant landscape changes due to modern socio economic changes. Especially grassland ecosystems of alpine meadows and pastures are threatened by the slow abandonment of the alpine transhumance traditions. This influences not only biodiversity but also the important cultural landscape seen as a valuable heritage in the Alps. The landscape in the North Italian alpine province South Tyrol is shaped by alpine grasslands and is currently affected by a slow reforestation process of these unique ecosystems.
The main aim of this landscape ecological study was to assess the value of a remote sensing approach based on satellite imagery. Geographically, the study is restricted to the agriculturally usable area located... (More)
The Alps are undergoing constant landscape changes due to modern socio economic changes. Especially grassland ecosystems of alpine meadows and pastures are threatened by the slow abandonment of the alpine transhumance traditions. This influences not only biodiversity but also the important cultural landscape seen as a valuable heritage in the Alps. The landscape in the North Italian alpine province South Tyrol is shaped by alpine grasslands and is currently affected by a slow reforestation process of these unique ecosystems.
The main aim of this landscape ecological study was to assess the value of a remote sensing approach based on satellite imagery. Geographically, the study is restricted to the agriculturally usable area located between 1000 m and 2000 m above sea level within the province of South Tyrol. This landscape change detection was achieved through the use of Landsat (5-8) imagery providing this study with high quality recordings over the focus area in the years of 1986, 2000, 2011 and 2016.
The supervised classification method elaborated for this specific analysis allowed spatial estimations of grassland ecosystems in relation to forests within the geographic and temporal framework. Evident landscape changes were visualized through maps and an additional trend analysis was executed in regard to the distribution of alpine grasslands within low Alps (<1300 m a.s.l.), middle Alps (1300 – 1800 m a.s.l.) and high Alps (>1800 m a.s.l.). As part of this study it could be confirmed that alpine grasslands that belong to the high Alps are most affected by land cover changes both in a longterm (30 years) and intermediate (14 and 16 years) analysis. (Less)
Abstract (German)
Die Alpen erleben aufgrund des modernen sozioökonomischen Wandels ständige Landschaftsveränderungen. Besonders Grünlandökosysteme, wie etwa Almwiesen und Almweiden, sind von der fortschreitenden Auflassung von Almen bedroht. Dies beeinflusst nicht nur die Biodiversität, sondern auch die Kulturlandschaft, die als wertvolles Erbe in den Alpen gesehen wird. Auch die Landschaft in der norditalienischen alpinen Provinz Südtirol ist derzeit von einem langsamen Verwaldungsprozess dieser einzigartigen Ökosysteme betroffen.
Das Hauptziel dieser landschafts-ökologischen Studie war es, den Wert eines Fernerkundungsansatzes auf Basis von Satellitenbildern zu beurteilen. Geographisch beschränkt sich die Studie auf die potentielle Agrarfläche zwischen... (More)
Die Alpen erleben aufgrund des modernen sozioökonomischen Wandels ständige Landschaftsveränderungen. Besonders Grünlandökosysteme, wie etwa Almwiesen und Almweiden, sind von der fortschreitenden Auflassung von Almen bedroht. Dies beeinflusst nicht nur die Biodiversität, sondern auch die Kulturlandschaft, die als wertvolles Erbe in den Alpen gesehen wird. Auch die Landschaft in der norditalienischen alpinen Provinz Südtirol ist derzeit von einem langsamen Verwaldungsprozess dieser einzigartigen Ökosysteme betroffen.
Das Hauptziel dieser landschafts-ökologischen Studie war es, den Wert eines Fernerkundungsansatzes auf Basis von Satellitenbildern zu beurteilen. Geographisch beschränkt sich die Studie auf die potentielle Agrarfläche zwischen 1000m und 2000 m über dem Meeresspiegel in der Provinz Südtirol. Ausgehend von öffentlich nutzbaren Landsat (5-8) Satellitenbildern, die diese Studie mit qualitativ hochwertigen Aufnahmen des Fokusbereiches in den Jahren 1986, 2000, 2011 und 2016 versorgt hat, war die Erfassung von Landschaftsveränderungen in dem Zeitrahmen möglich.
Die überwachte Klassifizierungsmethode, die für diese spezifische Analyse ausgearbeitet wurde, erlaubte räumliche Schätzungen von Grünlandökosystemen im Vergleich zu Waldökosystemen. Offensichtliche Landschaftsveränderungen wurden durch Karten visualisiert und eine zusätzliche Trendanalyse wurde im Hinblick auf die Verteilung von alpinen Wiesen und Weiden in den Niederalmen (<1300 m ü.d.M.), Mittelalmen (1300 - 1800 m ü.d.M.) und Hochalmen (> 1800 m ü.d.M.) ausgeführt. Im Rahmen dieser Studie konnte bestätigt werden, dass Grünland in der Hochalmregion, am stärksten von Landnutzungsänderungen betroffen ist. Diese sind sowohl in einer langfristigen (30 Jahre) als auch in einer zwischenzeitlichen (14 und 16 Jahre) Analyse nachweisbar. (Less)
Popular Abstract
The use of alpine meadows as grazing opportunity and extra forage harvest over the summer month has a long history. Still nowadays, wood pastures and alpine meadows or pastures are shaping the alpine environment of the Alps and are thus seen as a valuable cultural heritage. The alpine transhumance summer grazing traditions are becoming increasingly abandoned due to high economic pressures. New, more efficient and profitable hay harvesting methods are being implemented, using machines and fertilization methods also threaten the biodiversity of these unique grassland ecosystems.
South Tyrol, the northernmost province of Italy, where the geographic focus of this study is set, also undergoes constant landscape changes in the past 50 years.... (More)
The use of alpine meadows as grazing opportunity and extra forage harvest over the summer month has a long history. Still nowadays, wood pastures and alpine meadows or pastures are shaping the alpine environment of the Alps and are thus seen as a valuable cultural heritage. The alpine transhumance summer grazing traditions are becoming increasingly abandoned due to high economic pressures. New, more efficient and profitable hay harvesting methods are being implemented, using machines and fertilization methods also threaten the biodiversity of these unique grassland ecosystems.
South Tyrol, the northernmost province of Italy, where the geographic focus of this study is set, also undergoes constant landscape changes in the past 50 years. This slow natural reforestation process will be investigated in this study by using Landsat satellite imagery. Landuse changes are traced back to 1986 and compared to recent satellite images of similar quality recorded in 2000 and 2016. This analysis resulted into change detection values as well as maps and allowed an additional trend analysis in regard to the distribution of alpine grasslands within the three different Alp zones: low Alps (<1300 m a.s.l.), middle Alps (1300 – 1800 m a.s.l.) and high Alps (>1800 m a.s.l.).
As part of this study it could be confirmed that alpine grasslands that belong to the high Alps are most affected by the natural reforestation process both in a longterm (30 years) and intermediate (14 and 16 years) time period. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
Oberhollenzer, Petra LU
supervisor
organization
alternative title
Återbeskogning av alpinska gräsmarker i Sydtyrolen: Bedömning av rumsliga förändringar baserat på LANDSAT data 1986-2016 (Swedish)
Die Verwaldung von alpinen Wiesen und Weiden in Südtirol: Eine Auswertung der räumlichen Veränderungen anhand von Landsat Daten 1986-2016 (German)
Rimboschimento di praterie alpine in Alto Adige: Valutazione dei cambiamenti territoriali basati su dati Lansat 1986-2016 (Italian)
course
NGEK01 20171
year
type
M2 - Bachelor Degree
subject
keywords
supervised classification, landuse change detection, Landsat recordings, remote sensing, Alpine landscape change, South Tyrol, reforestation, transhumance, high Alps, middle Alps, low Alps, Alpine grasslands, meadows and pastures
publication/series
Student thesis series INES
report number
422
language
English
id
8918453
date added to LUP
2017-08-18 10:05:12
date last changed
2017-08-18 10:05:12
@misc{8918453,
  abstract     = {The Alps are undergoing constant landscape changes due to modern socio economic changes. Especially grassland ecosystems of alpine meadows and pastures are threatened by the slow abandonment of the alpine transhumance traditions. This influences not only biodiversity but also the important cultural landscape seen as a valuable heritage in the Alps. The landscape in the North Italian alpine province South Tyrol is shaped by alpine grasslands and is currently affected by a slow reforestation process of these unique ecosystems.
The main aim of this landscape ecological study was to assess the value of a remote sensing approach based on satellite imagery. Geographically, the study is restricted to the agriculturally usable area located between 1000 m and 2000 m above sea level within the province of South Tyrol. This landscape change detection was achieved through the use of Landsat (5-8) imagery providing this study with high quality recordings over the focus area in the years of 1986, 2000, 2011 and 2016. 
The supervised classification method elaborated for this specific analysis allowed spatial estimations of grassland ecosystems in relation to forests within the geographic and temporal framework. Evident landscape changes were visualized through maps and an additional trend analysis was executed in regard to the distribution of alpine grasslands within low Alps (<1300 m a.s.l.), middle Alps (1300 – 1800 m a.s.l.) and high Alps (>1800 m a.s.l.). As part of this study it could be confirmed that alpine grasslands that belong to the high Alps are most affected by land cover changes both in a longterm (30 years) and intermediate (14 and 16 years) analysis.},
  author       = {Oberhollenzer, Petra},
  keyword      = {supervised classification,landuse change detection,Landsat recordings,remote sensing,Alpine landscape change,South Tyrol,reforestation,transhumance,high Alps,middle Alps,low Alps,Alpine grasslands,meadows and pastures},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  series       = {Student thesis series INES},
  title        = {Reforestation of Alpine Grasslands in South Tyrol : assessing spatial changes based on Landsat data 1986-2016},
  year         = {2017},
}