Comparison of the current state of non-forest woody vegetation in two contrasted case study areas in Central Europe

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Abstract

Non-forest woody vegetation (NFWV), as a part of green infrastructure, has gained a great deal of attention in recent years. Despite its importance in many productive and non-productive functions, an inventory (collection of quantitative and qualitative data) on a national or even on a local level is not available in many European countries. The main aim of this study is to carry out a comparison of two study areas (lowland and upland) from the perspective of the current state of NFWV. We investigate qualitative attributes of NFWV, its relation to environmental conditions and its spatial pattern. After manual vectorization of orthophotos, qualitative data were collected in the field. Using statistical and landscape-ecological methods, the relation between NFWV and environmental conditions, as well as its spatial pattern were assessed. Substantial differences in character and in the spatial pattern of NFWV were identified between the study areas. NFWV in the upland area has a higher proportion (2.6%) than in lowland study area (1.5%), and it also has a more heterogeneous spatial structure. Statistical analysis points to a significant relation between the NFWV and land cover types in both study areas. A significant relation between NFWV and soil types was identified only in the upland area, however, while an association with potential natural vegetation was found in the lowland study area.

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