Authors:  
  • Joan Marull (Institut d’Estudis Regionals i Metropolitans de Barcelona)
  • Enric Tello (Universitat de Barcelona)
  • Nofre Fullana (Universitat de les Illes Balears)
  • Ivan Murray (Universitat de les Illes Balears)
  • Gabriel Jover (Universitat de Girona)
  • Carme Font (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona)
  • Francesc Coll (Institut d’Estudis Regionals i Metropolitans de Barcelona)
  • Elena Domene (Institut d’Estudis Regionals i Metropolitans de Barcelona)
  • Veronica Leoni (Università IUAV de Venezia)
  • Trejsi Decolli (Università IUAV de Venezia)

Year: 2015

We applied an intermediate disturbance-complexity approach to the land-use change of cultural landscapes in the island of Mallorca from c. 1850 to the present, which accounts for the joint behaviour of human appropriation of photosynthetic capacity used as a measure of disturbance, and a selection of land metrics at different spatial scales that account for ecological functionality as a proxy of biodiversity. We also delved deeper into local land-use changes in order to identify the main socioeconomic drivers and ruling agencies at stake. A second degree polynomial regression was obtained linking socio-metabolic disturbance and landscape ecological functioning (jointly assessing landscape patterns and processes). The results confirm our intermediate disturbance-complexity hypothesis by showing a hump-shaped relationship where the highest level of landscape complexity (heterogeneity connectivity) is attained when disturbance peaks at 50–60 %. The study proves the usefulness of transferring the concept of intermediate disturbance to Mediterranean cultural landscapes, and suggests that the conservation of heterogeneous and well connected land-use mosaics with a positive interplay between intermediate level of farming disturbances and land-cover complexity endowed with a rich bio-cultural heritage will preserve a wildlife-friendly agro-ecological matrix that is likely to house high biodiversity.

Marull, J., Tello, E., Fullana, N., Murray, I., Jover, G., Font, C., Coll, F., Domene, E., Leoni, V., & Decolli, T. (2015). Long-term bio-cultural heritage: exploring the intermediate disturbance hypothesis in agroecological landscapes (Mallorca, c. 1850–2012). Biodiversity Conservation, 24(13), 3217–3251. doi: 10.1007/s10531-015-0955-z