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Changes In The Algarvian Environment Over The Last 40 Years

1063 words - 5 pages

Introduction
The Algarve is the most Southern province in Portugal . It is one of the most appealing regions for tourism in the country. Its location and climate attracts tourists from all over the world. The Algarve is divided into three zones. The Litoral zone which is along the coast and where most economic activity is concentrated. The Algarve coast is very diverse with abrupt and jagged coastlines, sandy beaches, small islands and inlets , marshland areas and sand dunes. The Barrocal zone is the transitional area between the coast and the mountains . It has very favourable conditions for agricultural activities and is where most of the Algarve’s agricultural produce comes from. The ...view middle of the document...

The Algarve has experienced a number of other changes to its environment over the last 40 years including changes in land use, its climate and has resulted in the need for more work in looking at the ecology and conservation of certain areas.

Changes in land-use
Changes in land-use have been an increasing concern in most of Europe with the natural landscape and ecosystems often overlooked and neglected due to urbanisation and infrastructure. The Algarve environment has been directly affected by changing land-use with the loss of fragile ecosystems and agricultural land and coastal vulnerability. The main cause of this can be linked to the rapid increase in tourism in the mid- 1960’s which led to urban growth and the creation of supporting infrastructure (Vaz et al.,2012). On the one side this generated high revenues and economic growth but on the other side these highly productive areas rely heavily on their ecosystems functionality which are jeopardized by excessive human activities.
In 1985 the Corine programme was initiated in the European Union. Corine means 'coordination of information on the environment' and it was established to look at many different environmental issues including land-use problems. The Corine Land Cover (CLC) was used to compare urban areas from 1990 and 2006 it was seen that the class of urban land use had doubled in size from the CLC in 1990. This growth was especially noticeable in the surroundings of the major cities of the Algarve, such as Portimão, Albufeira and Faro.However in comparison it was seen that the interior of the Algarve had registered insignificant growth, and showed higher levels of rural abandonment of land and loss of agriculture (Vaz et al,.2012). A constant decrease from 44.55% of agricultural land-use in CLC 1990 to 41.10% in CLC 2000 and reaching to 40.06% in CLC 2006 was registered. The agricultural land loss has been accompanied by an increase in forest areas, which are the prevailing land use on areas of agricultural loss as an indication of rural and agricultural abandonment. Forest has increased from 50.22% to 52.33% in CLC 2006 ( Vaz et al,2012). These changes were mostly felt in peri-urban areas. Peri-urabn areas are the transitional zone between urban and rural areas. In the Algarve these areas have been adversely...

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