Landscape Change in Thy National Park

Student thesis: Master thesis (including HD thesis)

  • Søren Rasmussen Lunde
In this report the effects of planned landscape changes on the visual landscape in the
Danish national park of Thy are examined. In 2008 the national park of Thy was established,
making it the first Danish national park. Located at the west coast of Jutland,
the area has been affected by sand drift for centuries, which has covered vast areas of
agricultural land with sand. During the 19th century the movement of sand ceased, due
in part to plantations along the coast. Today moor areas, coniferous plantations and
wetlands make up most of the national park.
The management of the national park is governed by a current plan for the management
of the national park within a 6‐year period. This also brings a vision for the development
of the national park within a 30‐year period. Both contain several projects
regarding the landscape of the area. The most prominent of these are: a change in the
plantations towards a more natural forestry, the establishing of zones with a gradual
edge between moor and forest, and finally the reestablishing of former wetlands. Furthermore,
the edge zones will also require clearings of forest, the purpose of which is
both to establish gradual edges, but also to increase the connectivity of the moor areas.
In the field of landscape analysis various understandings of the term landscape is used.
This thesis examines the visual landscape in the national park, meaning the visible elements
on the surface that together form a landscape.
In landscape analyses, maps and statistical parameters are often used to quantify landscape
changes. This project uses mapping of area use and statistical processing to examine
the landscape changes that would happen if the planned projects for the national
park are carried out. The area use today and the modeled area use after completing
of the planned projects are mapped using different public geodata sources. The
mapping is conducted in the geographical information system ArcMap 9.3.1, ArcInfo.
The current and future area use is processed statistically through the statistical program
Fragstats. To discuss the changes in the vertical structure (the eye‐view) of the
landscapes, various locations have been photographed.
Through these analyses it is found that the projects will result in substantial landscape
changes within the national park if they are all carried out. The forest area will decline,
due to clearings in the edge zones and reestablishment of wetlands in the forests. The
composition of the forests will change from populations with single species, mainly
coniferous, to mixed populations with several tree species on each locality, mainly
mixed coniferous and deciduous species. At the same time the structure of the forests
of today with homogenous age of trees on each area will be replaced by a heterogenous
distribution of age. The establishing of edge zones will mean a higher level of
interconnection between moor areas and hence a more connected moor landscape.
Also the edge zones can result in more gradual edges between moor and forest, dependent
on the extent of clearing of new trees in the moor near the forests. The wetlands
will increase in number and area, both in moor and forest. They will be more
visible in the moor, but not change the moor landscape significantly. In the forests the
vertical structure in the areas where wetlands are reestablished will be radically
changed, since trees generally cannot grow in areas with too high ground water levels.
The overall landscape changes in the national park can then be summed up as a
change from landscapes with a high degree of human influence to landscapes with a
higher degree of natural processes or as a movement from cultural landscapes towards
natural landscapes.
Publication date9 Jun 2011
Number of pages85
ID: 52873940