Tuesday, 30 September 2014
Europe's vegetation cover mapped (#journal)
Semi-natural vegetation in agricultural land includes extensively managed grassland, agro-forestry and vegetated features not used for crop production, such as hedgerows and woodlots. Semi-natural vegetation plays a major role in the supply of ecosystem services such as pollination, pest control, water quality control and erosion prevention. In spite of such a relevance, semi-natural vegetation in agricultural land has never been mapped at the European scale. This article presents the first 1- km resolution map of semi-natural vegetation in agricultural land in the EU. Results show that semi-natural vegetation is usually beneficial for regulating services, whereas the relation to provisioning services is context-dependent. The study supports greening measures in the Common Agricultural Policy. Results also will help to identify green infrastructure elements and priority areas for ecological restoration.