Assessment of current ongoing land cover changes in the Niedere Tauern range in Styria, Austria

Publication from Digital

Gallaun H.

9th International Symposium on High Mountain Remote Sensing Cartography (HMRSC-IX), 14-22 Sept., Graz , 2005


The Niedere Tauern range in Styria, Austria is affected by large scale land cover changes which are mainly caused by extensivation of land use in the subalpine altitudinal zone and intensivation of land use in the montane altitudinal zone, mainly forestry. Appropriate, regionalised information on these changes which are a main driver of the current and future development of the region was not available up to now. In commission of the Government of the Province of Styria, therefore, land cover was interpreted for an area of 130.000 ha and the main change processes assessed. For the definition of the interpretation key, special emphasis was put on categories that are associated with ongoing change processes (e.g. dwarf-shrub plant community with tree crowncover below 10%). For estimation of the velocity of the change processes, historical aerial images from the 1960’s were compared with CIR imagery from 2004 in selected test sites. Statistics on land cover change processes were derived separately for the montane, subalpine and alpine altitudinal zone. The results show the aerial extent and the type of current ongoing changes of land cover in the Niedere Tauern range. From the results it can be expected, that the cultural landscape of the Niedere Tauern will change especially in the montane and subalpine altitudinal zone in the next decades.

Keywords: land cover change, mapping, monitoring, Alps, CIR, satellite image, time-series, natura 2000, protection areas