Assessment of land use changes and landscape fragmentation in the tourism area of Cacica and Vatra Dornei

Vasilică-Dănuț HORODNIC, Petruț-Ionel BISTRICEAN, Dumitru MIHĂILĂ, Vasile EFROS


This paper is intended to evaluate the effects of the development of anthropogenic activities on changes in the way of land is use and in the fragmentation of the landscape in the tourism areas of Cacica and Vatra Dornei (Suceava county). The proposed methodology includes the combination of geographic and cartographic data available, geographic information systems and landscape metrics. Using patches as landscape elements, a series of two-level (class and landscape) hierarchical landscape metrics were chosen to quantify the surface, number and size of landscape units that define the surveyed territory, homogeneity or diversity of the landscape. The ArcGis 10.2.2 software was employed to present the spatial distribution of land use changes over the 22 years (1990-2012) following the processing of the database provided by the European CORINE Land Cover project. The statistical results of the landscape metrics were obtained using the FRAGSTATS 4.2.1 software. The results highlight that, in Cacica landscape, the spatial pattern of land use and cover was dominated by a broadening of agriculture and semi-natural areas to the detriment of artificial surfaces and forests lands. On the other side, in the case of Vatra Dornei, the most prominent landscape changes were represented by afforestation and urbanization. The present study reveals a decrease of fragmentation for Caccia and an increase of fragmentation for Vatra Dornei which obviously contributed to the modification of the local landscape structure. Therefore, research findings underline the importance of supporting the geo-diversity of landscapes as they can provide additional tourist income and support the proper use of land.

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