Title: A land-use based modelling chain to assess the impacts of Natural Water Retention Measures on Europe’s Green Infrastructure
Publication Year: 2013
JRC N°: JRC79529
ISSN: 1365-8816
URI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13658816.2013.782408
DOI: 10.1080/13658816.2013.782408
Type: Articles in periodicals and books
Abstract: This paper details the process of integrating models to answer a specific policy-driven question: “What could be the impact of proposed Natural Water Retention Measures (NWRMs) on Europe’s Green Infrastructure (GI)?” It describes the new Land Use Modelling Platform (LUMP), now enabling a high spatial scale (100m) and large coverage (pan-European), whereby several sector-specific models contribute to assessing the impact of regional-level policy on a given spatial topic of concern. The configuration (land claims and land allocations modules) and calibration (accessibility and biophysical suitability) of the LUMP are explained. Four NWRM scenarios (riparian areas, afforestation, grassland and baseline scenario) are configured to run the simulations. For the reference year 2006, the spatial representation of GI is based on land use features of a refined version of the CORINE Land Cover, and resumed as connected components made of nodes and links. Mathematical morphological image processing and network graph theory model, available from the free software package GUIDOS, enabled the measurement of the GI connectivity and identified most critical links. Results show that the competition for land claimed by different economic sectors, combined with policy-driven rule-sets for the implementation of different Natural Water Retention Measures, yields very different results for the 2030 land use projections, and subsequently for the morphology of Green Infrastructure. Three indicators associated with the morphology of Green Infrastructure are computed in order to assess the model outputs for 2030. The indicators are computed to answer the following questions: 1) How is the quantity of Green Infrastructure affected by each of the NWRM, and what proportion of that Green Infrastructure is most valuable? 2) What is the location of the most critical nodes and connectors of Green Infrastructure, and what land use conversions occur under these? 3) Are the average components getting larger or smaller? Whereas the grassland measure results in the largest net increase of GI, the afforestation measure results in the overall largest number of hectares of key nodes and links within the network. Land conversions occur under the critical GI nodes and links; with a large increase in agricultural areas, especially for the riparian measure under critical nodes and the grassland measure under critical links. Also predominant is the swapping of land from pasture to forest under critical links with the afforestation measure. The riparian measure most increases the average size of GI components, and all three measures contribute to bridging two large components which were divided in the 2006 land use map, thus increasing the size of the largest component by more than 50%.
JRC Directorate:Sustainable Resources

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