Multi-temporal analysis of ecosystem integrity in coastal dunes
Coastal dunes are transitional systems which offer manifold ecosystem services, including material and intangible benefits, whose relevance for human society has been little investigated to date. In order to plan for a sustainable use of these threatened ecosystems, proper indicators to quantify ecological services and functions over time should be provided. Since the functionality of coastal dunes is affected by the specific contiguity among different dune habitat patches, in this study we propose the use of landscape integrity, expressed by the number and length of boundary types among the aforementioned habitats, as an ecosystem functionality indicator. In particular, we aim at properly expressing the trend of coastal dune mosaic integrity in two Italian LTER sites over the last sixty years by applying a generalized diversity function on the number and length of boundary types. Such functions, unlike a traditional diversity index, allow a complete summarization of landscape diversity and structure. The proposed method has proved to be effective in the considered context, because it has adequately underlined the different landscape integrity trend recorded in the two sites. In particular, generalized diversity functions showed to effectively express both rough and moderate anthropogenic transformations, which affected spatial heterogeneity and functionality of the considered coastal dune mosaic. Further applications at different scales and across different ecosystems are encouraged.
Acosta A., Carranza M.L., Izzi C.F. (2005). Combining land cover mapping of coastal dune with vegetation analysis. Applied Vegetation Science 8:133-138.
Carboni M., Carranza M.L., Acosta A.T. (2009). Assessing conservation status on coastal dunes: a multiscale approach. Landscape and Urban Planning 91(1):17-25.
Carranza M.L., Acosta A., Ricotta C. (2007). Analyzing landscape diversity in time: the use of Rényi’s generalized entropy function. Ecological Indicators 7:505-510.
Malavasi M., Santoro R., Cutini M., Acosta A.T.R., Carranza M.L. (2013). What has happened to coastal dunes in the last half century? A landscape analysis in Central Italy. Landscape and Urban Planning http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.landurbplan.2013.06.012
Mendoza-González G., Martínez M.L., Lithgow D., Pérez-Maqueo O., Simonin P. (2012). Land use change and its effects on the value of ecosystem services along the coast of the Gulf of Mexico. Ecological Economics 82:23-32.