Land Use Guidelines to Maintain Habitat Diversity of Wood- Pastures in the Southern Carpathians Under Projected Climate Change


  • Iona Stoicescu Research Institute of the University of Bucharest, ICUB; Transdisciplinary Research Centre Landscape-Territory-Information Systems, CeLTIS, Romania
  • Ileana Pătru-Stupariu University of Bucharest, Faculty of Geography, Department of Regional Geography and Environment, Romania
  • Constantina Alina Hossu University of Bucharest, Centre for Environmental Research and Impact Studies, Romania
  • Alexander Peringer Nuertingen-Geislingen University, Landscape Ecology and Resources Management, Germany



wood-pastures, ecosystem modelling, nature conservation management, landscape structure, socio-economic change


The biodiversity of wood-pastures depends on a balance between human interference and natural vegetation succession, which however is undergoing changes driven by socio-economic factors and climate change. Widely spread throughout Europe, wood-pastures were subject to either intensification or abandonment, leading to habitat segregation and loss. This is currently the fate of large Romanian remnant woodpastures and climate warming further complicates management adaptation.
In a series of simulation experiments, we compared the long-term effects of different land use and climate change scenarios on the habitat diversity of a wood-pasture in the Southern Carpathians (Fundata village, Romania). We tested livestock densities according to management guidelines, complemented with shrub-cutting in order to maintain a structurally-diverse landscape with high habitat values in the light of climate change. We found that significant losses of open pastureland and inclusion into forest, as well as landscape structural simplification and loss of complex habitats can be expected from climate warming, with more severe consequences in a hotter climate perspective. We arguefor the re-establishment of the traditional multi-use of wood-pastures at optimum livestock densities in combination with low-intensity shrubcutting, because our study demonstrated that traditional practices offer a balanced compromise between agricultural use and maintaining habitat mosaics that are robust to climate change.


Baumann, M., Kuemmerle, T., Elbakidze, M., Ozdogan, M., Radeloff, V. C., Keuler, N. S., . . . Hostert, P. (2011). Patterns and drivers of post-socialist farmland abandonment in western ukraine. Land use Policy, 28(3), 552-562. doi:10.1016/j.landusepol.2010.11.003 DOI:

Beaufoy, G., Jones, G., de Rijck, K., & Kazakova, Y. (2008). High Nature Value Farmlands: Recognising the Importance of South East European Landscapes,

Beniston, M. (2003). Climatic change in mountain regions: A review of possible impacts. Climatic Change, 59(1-2), 5-31. doi:10.1023/A:1024458411589 DOI:

Beniston, M. (2005). The risks associated with climatic change in mountain regions. Global Change and Mountain Regions, , 511-520. DOI:

Bergmeier, E., Petermann, J., & Schröder, E. (2010). Geobotanical survey of wood-pasture habitats in europe: Diversity, threats and conservation. Biodiversity and Conservation, 19(11), 2995-3014. doi:10.1007/s10531-010-9872-3 DOI:

Birsan, M. V., & Dumitrescu, A. (2014). ROCADA: Romanian daily gridded climatic dataset (1961–2013) V1.0. ROCADA: Romanian Daily Gridded Climatic Dataset (1961-2013) V1.0,

Bojariu, R., Bîrsan, M. -., Cică, R., Velea, L., Burcea, S., Dumitrescu, A., . . . Marin, L. (2015). Schimbările climatice – de la bazele fizice la riscuri şi adaptare. Schimbările Climatice De La Bazele Fizice La Riscuri și Adaptare,

Brandt, J. (2003). Multifunctional landscapes - perspectives for the future. Journal of Environmental Sciences, 15(2), 187-192.

Buttler, A., Gavazov, K., Peringer, A., Siehoff, S., Mariotte, P., Wettstein, J. -., . . . Spiegelberger, T. (2012). Conservation of pasture woodlands in the jura mountains: Climate change and agro-political challenges. [Erhaltung der wytweiden im jura: Klimatische und agrarpolitische herausforderungen] Agrarforschung Schweiz, (7-8), 346-353.

Chetelat, J., Kalbermatten, M., Lannas, K. S. M., Spiegelberger, T., Wettstein, J. -., Gillet, F., . . . Buttler, A. (2013). A contextual analysis of land-use and vegetation changes in two wooded pastures in the swiss jura mountains. Ecology and Society, 18(1) doi:10.5751/ES-05287-180139 DOI:

Clauss, M., Kaiser, T., & Hummel, J. (2008). The morphophysiological adaptations of browsing and grazing mammals. The Ecology of Browsing and Grazing, , 47-88. DOI:

Danell, K., Bergstrom, R., Duncan, P., & Pastor, J. (2006). Large herbivores in heterogeneous grassland ecosystems. Large Herbivore Ecology, Ecosystem Dynamics and Conservation, DOI:

Doniţǎ, N., Popescu, A., Paucǎ-Comǎnescu, M., Mihǎilescu, S., & Biriş, I. A. (2005). Habitatele din românia. Habitatele Din România,

Dorresteijn, I., Hartel, T., Hanspach, J., von Wehrden, H., & Fischer, J. (2013). The conservation value of traditional rural landscapes: The case of woodpeckers in transylvania, romania. PLoS ONE, 8(6) doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0065236 DOI:

Dovčiak, M., Hrivnák, R., Ujházy, K., & Gömöry, D. (2008). Seed rain and environmental controls on invasion of picea abies into grassland. Plant Ecology, 194(1), 135-148. doi:10.1007/s11258-007-9280-2 DOI:

Farina, A. (1998). Principles and Methods in Landscape Ecology, DOI:

Flynn, J. P. (1973). Snowball sampling for voluntary participation research. Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, 2(1), 60-63. doi:10.1177/089976407300200106 DOI:

Fontana, V., Radtke, A., Walde, J., Tasser, E., Wilhalm, T., Zerbe, S., & Tappeiner, U. (2014). What plant traits tell us: Consequences of land-use change of a traditional agro-forest system on biodiversity and ecosystem service provision. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment, 186, 44-53. doi:10.1016/j.agee.2014.01.006 DOI:

Gallandat, J. -., Gillet, F., Havlickec, E., & Perrenoud, A. (1995). Typologie Et Systémique Phyto-Écologiques Des,

Gavazov, K. S., Peringer, A., Buttler, A., Gillet, F., & Spiegelberger, T. (2013). Dynamics of forage production in pasture-woodlands of the swiss jura mountains under projected climate change scenarios. Ecology and Society, 18(1) doi:10.5751/ES-04974-180138 DOI:

Gillet, F. (2008). Modelling vegetation dynamics in heterogeneous pasture-woodland landscapes. Ecological Modelling, 217(1-2), 1-18. doi:10.1016/j.ecolmodel.2008.05.013 DOI:

Gillet, F., & Peringer, A. (2012). Dynamic modelling of silvopastoral landscape structure: Scenarios for future climate and land use. Paper presented at the IEMSs 2012 - Managing Resources of a Limited Planet: Proceedings of the 6th Biennial Meeting of the International Environmental Modelling and Software Society, 860-867.

Hartel, T., Dorresteijn, I., Klein, C., Máthé, O., Moga, C. I., Öllerer, K., . . . Fischer, J. (2013). Wood-pastures in a traditional rural region of eastern europe: Characteristics, management and status. Biological Conservation, 166, 267-275. doi:10.1016/j.biocon.2013.06.020 DOI:

Hartel, T., Hanspach, J., Abson, D. J., Máthé, O., Moga, C. I., & Fischer, J. (2014). Bird communities in traditional wood-pastures with changing management in eastern europe. Basic and Applied Ecology, 15(5), 385-395. doi:10.1016/j.baae.2014.06.007 DOI:

Hartel, T., Hanspach, J., Moga, C. I., Holban, L., Szapanyos, Á., Tamás, R., . . . Réti, K. -. (2018). Abundance of large old trees in wood-pastures of transylvania (romania). Science of the Total Environment, 613-614, 263-270. doi:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2017.09.048 DOI:

Hartel, T., & Plieninger, T. (2015). European Wood-Pastures in Transition.A Social-Ecological Approach, DOI:

Hartel, T., Plieninger, T., & Varga, A. (2015). Wood-pastures in europe. Europe's changing woods and forests: From wildwood to managed landscapes (pp. 61-76) DOI:

Hartel, T., Réti, K. -., & Craioveanu, C. (2017). Valuing scattered trees from wood-pastures by farmers in a traditional rural region of eastern europe. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment, 236, 304-311. doi:10.1016/j.agee.2016.11.019 DOI:

Hilpold, A., Seeber, J., Fontana, V., Niedrist, G., Rief, A., Steinwandter, M., . . . Tappeiner, U. (2018). Decline of rare and specialist species across multiple taxonomic groups after grassland intensification and abandonment. Biodiversity and Conservation, 27(14), 3729-3744. doi:10.1007/s10531-018-1623-x DOI:

Huber, R., Briner, S., Peringer, A., Lauber, S., Seidl, R., Widmer, A., . . . Hirschi, C. (2013). Modeling social-ecological feedback effects in the implementation of payments for environmental services in pasture-woodlands. Ecology and Society, 18(2) doi:10.5751/ES-05487-180241 DOI:

Huber, R., Rigling, A., Bebi, P., Brand, F. S., Briner, S., Buttler, A., . . . Bugmann, H. (2013). Sustainable land use in mountain regions under global change: Synthesis across scales and disciplines. Ecology and Society, 18(3) doi:10.5751/ES-05499-180336 DOI:

Jacob, D., Petersen, J., Eggert, B., Alias, A., Christensen, O. B., Bouwer, L. M., . . . Yiou, P. (2014). EURO-CORDEX: New high-resolution climate change projections for european impact research. Regional Environmental Change, 14(2), 563-578. doi:10.1007/s10113-013-0499-2 DOI:

Kirby, K. J., & Watkins, C. (2015). Europe's changing woods and forests: From wildwood to managed landscapes. Europe's changing woods and forests: From wildwood to managed landscapes (pp. 1-363) DOI:

Kuemmerle, T., Müller, D., Griffiths, P., & Rusu, M. (2009). Land use change in southern romania after the collapse of socialism. Regional Environmental Change, 9(1), 1-12. doi:10.1007/s10113-008-0050-z DOI:

Loos, J., Abson, D. J., Dorresteijn, I., Hanspach, J., Hartel, T., Horcea-Milcu, A. I., . . . Fischer, J. (2016). Sustainable Landscapes in Central Romania: A Social-Ecological Study on the Future of Southern Transylvania,

Makarewicz, K., Schwaiger, E., & Brodsky, L. (2012). Updated High Nature Value Farmland in Europe 0-61,

Marutca, T. (2014). Pajittea, cel mai complex ecosistem saracit de ignoranta. Revista Lumea Satului, Nr, 21(218), 1-15.

Marutca, T., Vasile, M., & Hat, E. (2014). Ghid de întocmire a amenajamentelor pastorale. Editura Capolavoro,

Moberg, A., Sonechkin, D. M., Holmgren, K., Datsenko, M. H., & Karlén, W. (2005). Highly variable northern hemisphere temperatures reconstructed from low- and high-resolution proxy data. Nature, 433(7026), 613-617. doi:10.1038/nature03265 DOI:

Munteanu, C., Kuemmerle, T., Boltiziar, M., Butsic, V., Gimmi, U., Lúboš Halada, . . . Radeloff, V. C. (2014). Forest and agricultural land change in the carpathian region-A meta-analysis of long-term patterns and drivers of change. Land use Policy, 38, 685-697. doi:10.1016/j.landusepol.2014.01.012 DOI:

Olff, H., & Ritchie, M. E. (1998). Effects of herbivores on grassland plant diversity. Trends in Ecology and Evolution, 13(7), 261-265. doi:10.1016/S0169-5347(98)01364-0 DOI:

Olff, H., Vera, F. W. M., Bokdam, J., Bakker, E. S., Gleichman, J. M., De Maeyer, K., & Smit, R. (1999). Shifting mosaics in grazed woodlands driven by the alternation of plant facilitation and competition. Plant Biology, 1(2), 127-137. doi:10.1111/j.1438-8677.1999.tb00236.x DOI:

Öllerer, K. (2013). On the spatio-temporal approaches towards conservation of extensively managed rural landscapes in central-eastern europe: (short running title: Spatio-temporal approaches in extensive CE european rural landscapes). Journal of Landscape Ecology(Czech Republic), 6(1), 32-46. doi:10.2478/v10285-012-0062-8 DOI:

Palaghianu, C. (2016). Analiza Regenerarii Padurii: Perspective Statistice Si Informatice,

Palang, H., Printsmann, A., Gyuró, É. K., Urbanc, M., Skowronek, E., & Woloszyn, W. (2006). The forgotten rural landscapes of central and eastern europe. Landscape Ecology, 21(3 SPEC. ISS.), 347-357. doi:10.1007/s10980-004-4313-x DOI:

Patru-Stupariu, I. (2011). Peisaj Si Gestiunea Durabila a Teritoriului.Aplicatii La Culoarul Transcarpatic Bran-Rucar-Dragoslavele,

Pǎtru-Stupariu, I., Stupariu, M. -., Cuculici, R., & Huzui, A. (2011). Understanding landscape change using historical maps. case study sinaia, romania. Journal of Maps, 7(1), 206-220. doi:10.4113/jom.2011.1151 DOI:

Pătru-Stupariu, I., Stupariu, M. -., Stoicescu, I., Peringer, A., Buttler, A., & Fürst, C. (2017). Integrating geo-biodiversity features in the analysis of landscape patterns. Ecological Indicators, 80, 363-375. doi:10.1016/j.ecolind.2017.05.010 DOI:

Pepene, N., & Popovici, B. F. (2012). Comuna Fundata: O Istorie În Imagini,

Peringer, A., Buttler, A., Gillet, F., Pătru-Stupariu, I., Schulze, K. A., Stupariu, M. -., & Rosenthal, G. (2017). Disturbance-grazer-vegetation interactions maintain habitat diversity in mountain pasture-woodlands. Ecological Modelling, 359, 301-310. doi:10.1016/j.ecolmodel.2017.06.012 DOI:

Peringer, A., Gillet, F., Rosenthal, G., Stoicescu, I., Pătru-Stupariu, I., Stupariu, M. -., & Buttler, A. (2016). Landscape-scale simulation experiments test romanian and swiss management guidelines for mountain pasture-woodland habitat diversity. Ecological Modelling, 330, 41-49. doi:10.1016/j.ecolmodel.2016.03.013 DOI:

Peringer, A., & Rosenthal, G. (2011). Establishment patterns in a secondary tree line ecotone. Ecological Modelling, 222(17), 3120-3131. doi:10.1016/j.ecolmodel.2011.05.025 DOI:

Peringer, A., Schulze, K. A., Stupariu, I., Stupariu, M. -., Rosenthal, G., Buttler, A., & Gillet, F. (2016). Multi-scale feedbacks between tree regeneration traits and herbivore behavior explain the structure of pasture-woodland mosaics. Landscape Ecology, 31(4), 913-927. doi:10.1007/s10980-015-0308-z DOI:

Peringer, A., Siehoff, S., Chételat, J., Spiegelberger, T., Buttler, A., & Gillet, F. (2013). Past and future landscape dynamics in pasture-woodlands of the swiss jura mountains under climate change. Ecology and Society, 18(3) doi:10.5751/ES-05600-180311 DOI:

Perry, G. L. W., & Enright, N. J. (2006). Spatial modelling of vegetation change in dynamic landscapes: A review of methods and applications. Progress in Physical Geography, 30(1), 47-72. doi:10.1191/0309133306pp469ra DOI:

Plieninger, T., Hartel, T., Martín-López, B., Beaufoy, G., Bergmeier, E., Kirby, K., . . . Van Uytvanck, J. (2015). Wood-pastures of europe: Geographic coverage, social-ecological values, conservation management, and policy implications. Biological Conservation, 190, 70-79. doi:10.1016/j.biocon.2015.05.014 DOI:

Plieninger, T., Pulido, F. J., & Konold, W. (2003). Effects of land-use history on size structure of holm oak stands in spanish dehesas: Implications for conservation and restoration. Environmental Conservation, 30(1), 61-70. doi:10.1017/S0376892903000055 DOI:

Riahi, K., Rao, S., Krey, V., Cho, C., Chirkov, V., Fischer, G., . . . Rafaj, P. (2011). RCP 8.5-A scenario of comparatively high greenhouse gas emissions. Climatic Change, 109(1), 33-57. doi:10.1007/s10584-011-0149-y DOI:

Roellig, M., Costa, A., Garbarino, M., Hanspach, J., Hartel, T., Jakobsson, S., . . . Fischer, J. (2018). Post hoc assessment of stand structure across european wood-pastures: Implications for land use policy. Rangeland Ecology and Management, 71(5), 526-535. doi:10.1016/j.rama.2018.04.004 DOI:

Roellig, M., Dorresteijn, I., Von Wehrden, H., Hartel, T., & Fischer, J. (2014). Brown bear activity in traditional wood-pastures in southern transylvania, romania. Ursus, 25(1), 44-52. doi:10.2192/URSUS-D-13-00007.1 DOI:

Smit, C., Béguin, D., Buttler, A., & Müller-Schärer, H. (2005). Safe sites for tree regeneration in wooded pastures: A case of associational resistance? Journal of Vegetation Science, 16(2), 209-214. doi:10.1111/j.1654-1103.2005.tb02357.x DOI:

Smit, C., Ruifrok, J. L., van Klink, R., & Olff, H. (2015). Rewilding with large herbivores: The importance of grazing refuges for sapling establishment and wood-pasture formation. Biological Conservation, 182, 134-142. doi:10.1016/j.biocon.2014.11.047 DOI:

Sutcliffe, L., Akeroyd, J., Page, N., & Popa, R. (2015). Combining approaches to support high nature value farmland in southern transylvania, romania. Hacquetia, 14(1), 53-63. doi:10.1515/hacq-2015-0011 DOI:

Sutcliffe, L., Paulini, I., Jones, G., Marggraf, R., & Page, N. (2013). Pastoral commons use in romania and the role of the common agricultural policy. International Journal of the Commons, 7(1), 58-72. doi:10.18352/ijc.367 DOI:

Sutcliffe, L. M. E., Batáry, P., Kormann, U., Báldi, A., Dicks, L. V., Herzon, I., . . . Tscharntke, T. (2015). Harnessing the biodiversity value of central and eastern european farmland. Diversity and Distributions, 21(6), 722-730. doi:10.1111/ddi.12288 DOI:

Tucker, G., & Beaufoy, G. (2014). Common framework for biodiversity-proofing of the EU budget general guidance. Report to the European Commission,

van Vuuren, D. P., Stehfest, E., den Elzen, M. G. J., Kram, T., van Vliet, J., Deetman, S., . . . van Ruijven, B. (2011). RCP2.6: Exploring the possibility to keep global mean temperature increase below 2°C. Climatic Change, 109(1), 95-116. doi:10.1007/s10584-011-0152-3 DOI:

Vandenberghe, C., Freléchoux, F., Moravie, M. -., Gadallah, F., & Buttler, A. (2007). Short-term effects of cattle browsing on tree sapling growth in mountain wooded pastures. Plant Ecology, 188(2), 253-264. doi:10.1007/s11258-006-9160-1 DOI:

Vera, F. W. M. (2000). Grazing ecology and forest history. Grazing Ecology and Forest History, DOI:





How to Cite

Stoicescu, I., Pătru-Stupariu, I., Hossu, C. A., & Peringer, A. (2019). Land Use Guidelines to Maintain Habitat Diversity of Wood- Pastures in the Southern Carpathians Under Projected Climate Change. Landscape Online, 74.



Research Article