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The dynamics of land covers categories and the impact of climate change on ultramafic areas of Albania

Enkelejd Lekaj, Zydi Teqja, Aida Bani

Abstract



Ultramafics cover quite large areas in Albania. The purpose of this study was to identify land cover changes and the impact of climate scenarios on some of the plant species of ultramafic substratum in Albania. The CORINE Land Cover (2000-2018), the plant hardiness map and Map of Albania's ultramafics were used for this study. The plant hardiness zones map was used to study the impact of climate change scenarios for the ultramafics substratum. Analysis showed that the surface of ultramafic substrates in Albania containing between 10-43% MgO occupy about 11% of the total area of Albania. The majority of this area is divided among the following districts: Puke (76.54%); Fushe Arrez (31.15%); Bulqiza (28.78%); Prrenjas (28.61); Librazhd (26.51%); and Tropoja (26.39%). The major land cover categories in ultramafic area for 2000 were dominated by Forest and semi natural areas with 92.22% followed by Agricultural with 7.45% and Artificial surfaces (0.16%), Water bodies (0.15%), and Wetlands (0.02%). Over an 18 year period, agricultural areas were converted to other land use categories at the rate of 202 ha year-1, whereas the Forests decreased by 2884 ha year-1. The analysis of the impact of climate change scenarios showed that the potential area of Alyssium murale Waldst. & Kit and Gentiana lutea L. could decrease by as much as 47.7% by 2070, for the most aggressive climate scenario. The rate of change in land cover and the impact of climate change on the distribution of certain plant species are important to assess soil and plant resource degradation and plan for a sustainable management and conservation of natural resources of ultramafic ecosystems




Keywords


land cover categories; ultramafic; serpentine soil; corine land cover; GIS; climate change scenarios

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0369-8963 - ISSN ONLINE: 2239-1002