JOURNAL OF ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT, cilt.197, ss.719-731, 2017 (SCI İndekslerine Giren Dergi)
During the last decades, contrasted trends in forest fires among countries around the Mediterranean basin have been observed. In the northern/western countries, Land Use-Land Cover (LULC) changes led to more hazardous landscapes, with consequent increases in fires. This contrasted with fire trends in southern/eastern countries. The recent incidence of large fires in some of the latter prompted the question of whether they are now following the path of their neighbors decades earlier. In this study, we investigated recent LULC changes in southwestern Turkey, focusing on those that could affect fire, and the factors driving them. To this end, LULC maps at different time steps (1975,1990, 2000 and 2010) were obtained from Landsat images, together with relevant socioeconomic data. Generalized linear mixed models (GLMMs) were applied to assess the effects of socioeconomic and geophysical factors on the dominant LULC changes over time. Over the whole period studied, the most important LULC changes were deforestation followed by afforestation. Deforestation was positively related to high livestock density and proximity to villages and increased forest interfaces with other LULC types. We found no evidence that LULC changes were making the landscape more hazardous as there was a net decrease in fuels biomass and the landscape became more fragmented over time. However, despite the area being heavily used and relatively fragmented, large fires can occur driven by severe weather. (C) 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.