Protected areas (PAs) represent real cornerstones in the conservation of biodiversity and natural habitats. Their protection must be a priority today for each society. The enhanced socio-economic requirements increase the pressure upon protected areas, and the effect can result in a reduction of biodiversity. The aim of this study is to quantify forest fragmentation in the pre- (1986–2002) and post-establishment (2002–2016) periods, inside and around (buffer 1, buffer 2 and buffer 3) Apuseni Natural Park (ANP), Romania, using a series of classified Landsat satellite images and six landscape metrics. The results show that forest fragmentation occurred both in the pre- and post-establishment periods, inside and around ANP. Inside the park, the deforestation rate increased four times, from 0.03% year−1 in the pre-establishment period to 0.14% year−1 in the post-establishment period. Around the park, the deforestation rate decreased from 0.31% year−1 in the pre-establishment period (buffer 1) to 0.10% year−1 in the post-establishment period (buffer 1). Forest fragmentation resulted in an increase in the patch density and edge density, and a decrease in the total core area and mean patch size leading to isolation of patches and fragmentation of landscape, especially in ANP in the post-establishment period. Several measures can be taken in order to stop forest fragmentation inside and around ANP, including the education of buffer-zone communities, reforestation, enforcement of park regulations, and forest legislation.
Environmental Monitoring and Assessment – Springer Journals
Published: May 30, 2018
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