Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10316/26494
Title: Ecological processes related to urban development and land use change in the municipality of Coimbra
Authors: Barrico, Maria de Lurdes Chorro Simões 
Orientador: Freitas, Helena
Castro, Paula
Keywords: Ecologia urbana
Issue Date: 21-Jul-2015
Citation: BARRICO, Maria de Lurdes Chorro Simões - Ecological processes related to urban development and land use change in the municipality of Coimbra. Coimbra : [s.n.], 2015. Tese de doutoramento. Disponível na WWW: http://hdl.handle.net/10316/26494
Abstract: Land use change is a major issue in global environment change, especially in developing countries. Human impacts upon the land are very pronounced and still increasing. The urban expansion will be the largest influence on development in the 21st century. The concentration of people in densely populated urban areas, especially in developing countries will undoubtedly continue to increase as the majority of the world’s population will live in urban settlements. Urban landscapes support a high and rich diversity often occurring as unusual or unique communities. Urban green areas are a vital part of the urban landscape, providing contact with wildlife and environmental services with additional socio-ecological benefits to the overall quality of life. The preservation of urban green spaces has become an important policy topic in many regions. Urban green spaces can play important roles on protection of environmental sustainability through improving the quality of life and air quality, and reducing the energy costs of cooling buildings. They also can provide ecosystem services in which the leisure and sport facilities are available to urban dwellers. The thesis is divided into five chapters (chapters 2 to 6), each structured as a paper that has been either published (chapter 4) or submitted (chapter 3) to scientific journals for publication or are in preparation to submit (chapters 2 and 5). These chapters are preceded by an introductory chapter (chapter 1) that correspond to a general introduction, and succeeded by a final chapter (chapter 7) that integrates the final considerations of this thesis. Chapter 2 analyzes the land use change during the last two decades in the Coimbra municipality. The main objective of the study was to characterise the spatial and temporal land use changes in the municipality and to discuss how potential driving factors have contributed to this evolution. With its economic development, population growth, and urbanization, Coimbra municipality has experienced a clear pattern in land use change from 1990 to 2010. The change was mainly characterized by a continuous built-up land expansion, mostly at the expense of cropland loss. The bivariate statistical analysis suggested that physical, disturbance, demographic and socio-economic factors were significantly correlated with this land use change. Chapter 3 evaluates the spatial and temporal urban expansion in the Coimbra city during a 20-years period (1990-2010). The results revealed an urban expansion of 1142.3 ha during these last two decades, corresponding to a mean growth value of 57 ha/year, land that was taken mostly of at expense of cropland areas. This expansion however, has not been followed by an equally rapid population growth. This physical pattern of low-density expansion in built-up areas contributed to a less compact city evolution, clearly an indicator of urban sprawl. In Chapter 4 the composition and diversity of vascular plants and macromycetes are assessed in an urban green area of the city of Coimbra (central Portugal) comprising three landscape types (Oak-, Eucalyptus-, and Olive-stands), with historical periurban agriculture and forest uses. The pattern of land use resulted in the establishment of different plant and soil fungal communities’ composition and diversity among these landscapes. The plant richness and diversity indices revealed similar trends within the landscape types, with the highest values found in the Olive-stands due to the presence of herbaceous that decreased with tree cover density. Richness and diversity of macromycetes were higher in Oak-stands especially the symbiotic ectomycorrhizal (ECM) fungal communities. Although not significant, higher saprobic fungi richness and diversity values were found in the Eucalyptus-stands. Chapter 5 evaluates the plant and microorganisms biodiversity in two different types of green spaces (public gardens and forests) in Coimbra city. The Shannon and Simpson diversity indices showed similar tendencies among growth-forms, and were significantly different only for shrubs, with the forests presenting the highest values. The forests also showed a clear importance since they harbour taxa with high conservation and ecological value. Although, the cluster analysis of the DGGE banding patterns did not get significant differences among the soil bacterial and fungal communities from gardens and forests, the soil bacterial community richness was higher in forests than in gardens. Chapter 6 characterises the public’s perception and opinion about economic and socio-cultural conditions of Coimbra municipality, as well as its urban and environmental qualification, using a questionnaire. In this sense the objective of the questionnaire is to gauge the public opinion and impressions of the inhabitants of Coimbra municipality, more particularly what they value and what needs improvement in the context of growth and development. The purpose of this study also is to provide the competent authorities with results and suggestions which can be helpful in the future planning. Chapter 7 summarises the main conclusions about the results obtained in this study.
Description: Tese de doutoramento em Biologia, no ramo de Ecologia, apresentada ao Departamento de Ciências da Vida da Faculdade de Ciências e Tecnologia da Universidade de Coimbra
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10316/26494
Rights: openAccess
Appears in Collections:FCTUC Ciências da Vida - Teses de Doutoramento

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