The land use–land degradation nexus in Cretan landscapes in regions with Natura 2000 sites was analyzed by an explorative expert driven study based on literature, field work and photo documentation methods with the aim of determining status, drivers and key processes of change. Drivers of current land use changes have been worked out by (1) general tourism developments and tourism related land uses; (2) irrigated olive yard developments; (3) fenced large-scale goat pastures and (4) large scale greenhouses. Key processes of change have been identified and qualitatively assessed for 5 regions with NATURA 2000 areas based on a non-ranked set of 11 descriptive indicators. The analysis includes the status-description and the importance assessment of land degradation processes in selected NATURA 2000 sites. Threats and pressures taken from the NATURA 2000 documentation and the land use – land degradation nexus and the analysis are a suitable basis for future land management in order to reach land degradation neutrality. The result of our analysis opens a new research field for a better integration of the normally thematically isolated analysis in geography, biology/nature conservation and agricultural policy analysis about the drivers and processes in landscape systems towards a better understanding the trends in land cover change (e.g. vegetation/soil degradation), the trends in productivity or functioning changes caused by land uses and as well for the trends in carbon stock change.
Integrated Water Cycle Management (IWCM) aims to bring together a diversity of social, environmental, technological and economic aspects to implement sustainable water and land management systems. This paper investigates the challenges and opportunities facing Kazakhstan as it its efforts to move towards a more sustainable approach to managing its finite and highly stressed water resources. The use of a strategic-level risk governance framework to support a multi-disciplinary Kazakh-EU consortium in working collaboratively towards enhancing capacity and capability to address identified challenges is described. With a clear focus on addressing capacity building needs, a strong emphasis is placed on developing taught integrated water cycle management programmes through communication, stakeholder engagement and policy development including appropriate tools for managing the water issues including hydraulic models, GIS-based systems and scenario developments. Conclusions on the benefits of implementing an EU-style Water Framework Directive for Central Asia based on a risk management approach in Kazakhstan are formulated.
Landscape responses to degradation caused by aridification bring the landscape system into a new equilibrium state. The system transformation may entail irreversible changes to its constituting parameters. This paper analyses the impact of aridification on landscape degradation processes in the sand-covered landscapes of the Hungarian Danube-Tisza Interfluve region at the regional, landscape, and local site scales. Changes in groundwater level (well data), lake surface area (Modified Normalized Difference Water Index) and vegetation cover (Enhanced Vegetation Index) were analysed over time periods of 12–60 years. Significant regional variation in decreasing groundwater levels is observed and limits the regional applicability of this indicator. Applying the lake surface area parameter from remote sensing data demonstrated greater utility, identifying several local lakes in the landscapes which have dried out. Analysis of the vegetation response indicated minor changes over the 2000–2014 time period and did not indicate a landscape system change. Landscape degradation as a result of changes in groundwater, vegetation, land cover and land use is clearly identified exclusively in local lake areas, but at the landscape scale, changes in the water balance are found in phases of system stability and transformation. Thresholds are identified to support policy and management towards landscape degradation neutrality.
An integrated approach was applied in this article to provide a medium-scale map of land use intensity for Hungary. The main goal was to estimate its value by a small set of parameters, which are freely available and have a high resolution. The basis of the evaluation was the CORINE 2012 dataset, and a matrix method was applied to integrate the ratio of natural/semi-natural vegetation, woody vegetation and the Natural Capacity Index in the assessment to describe the complex approach of land use intensity. The medium level land use intensity map provides information for decision makers/landscape planners on the current status and spatial pattern of anthropogenic impact and indicates those hot-spots where land use intensity is high and should be focused research and management to intervene in order to encourage sustainable land use. 46% of the arable lands in Hungary show the most intensive land use. Comparing the map with the previously published hemeroby map of Hungary, more intensive impact on landscape transformation through human action was found. In agricultural areas both researches agree that the intensity and human activity is really high, and the lowest intensity class is rare in Hungary except for mountain regions and protected areas.