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      Changes in land cover and grassland area over the past 120 years in a rapidly urbanised area in Japan

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      One Ecosystem

      Pensoft Publishers

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          Abstract

          In wet temperate regions, human activity has played an important role in shaping the size and distribution of grasslands. We examined change in land cover type and grassland area in a 9.2 × 22.3 km area of northern Chiba Prefecture, based on historical maps and documents for four time periods (1880s, 1950s, 1980s and 2000s). In the 1880s, conifer forests occupied the largest area (43.1%) amongst land cover types and grasslands accounted for 4.2% of the total area. However, literature available from the 1880s suggests that the understorey of conifer forests may have served as additional habitat for grasses. Thus, the habitat of grassland species is suggested to have covered up to 54% of the study area during this time period. By the 1950s, much of the grassland present in the 1880s had been changed to agricultural fields and paddies and grassland area had reduced to 2.9%. Residential development prior to and during the 1980s led to the conversion of forests and agricultural fields to grassland, increasing the grassland area to 11.6% of the study area. Finally, in the 2000s, grasslands had declined to 6.0% of the study area, likely due to conversion to residential areas. Despite these changes over time, 1.5% of the study area has remained as native forest or grassland for over 120 years. The spatial data presented herein are useful for conservation planning and studying the effect of historical land use change on biodiversity.

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          Most cited references 17

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          HISTORICAL LANDSCAPE CONNECTIVITY AFFECTS PRESENT PLANT SPECIES DIVERSITY

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            Semi-natural grassland continuity, long-term land-use change and plant species richness in an agricultural landscape on Öland, Sweden

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              Transition of the satoyama landscape in the urban fringe of the Tokyo metropolitan area from 1880 to 2001

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                Author and article information

                Journal
                One Ecosystem
                OE
                Pensoft Publishers
                2367-8194
                September 16 2019
                September 16 2019
                : 4
                Article
                10.3897/oneeco.4.e37669
                © 2019

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