Natural landscapes are landscapes with internationally rare or unique and nationally characteristic landscape qualities. The landscape, cultural-historic and natural qualities must be safeguarded, sustainable maintained and, if possible, strengthened. Preservation through development is the slogan within the national landscapes (Min-isterie van VROM, 2006a). The landscape qualities are steering the developments in the area. Spatial developments are possible, but only if the landscape qualities can be strengthened. The provinces are responsible for implementing the policies regarding the exact boundaries and core qualities of the national landscapes.
Nature areas contribute to the characteristics of the national landscapes and the recreational and experience values. The development of ecological structures takes place in harmony with the are-specific landscape qualities.
The central government decides on the choice for the different national landscapes (Fig. 5.9).
The Ecological Main Structure and National landscapes offer certainty on the future status of areas. The areas are exact bound and there is little doubt, once realised where exactly the areas are located. For current species this is a sound approach. Knowing which species seek for a certain environment, the connected Main Structure as well as supportive national landscapes helps protecting existing ecological values. However, if climate changes relatively rapidly, the same question can be posed as regarding the effectivity of the directives. A spatially fixed pattern of ecological structures might conflict with future demands of species, which move northeaster ward and enter areas, which probably fit suboptimal.
The effects of climate change are felt everywhere. The nature will have to deal with new species and several existing species will meet more difficult circumstances. Nature has always been dependent on the weather. Factors, like enduring rain, extreme heat or long droughts influence the ecological quality of nature. It is obvious that the changes in climate will accelerate the upcoming decennia. Nature will have to adapt more and faster than before. I history, nature has to deal with weather
incidents. The changes in climate developed in a pace that big adjustments were not necessary. Nature copes with the incidents and went on functioning like it did before. With the upcoming expected fast changes in climate this attitude is no longer possible: the incidents of before 'are' the climate today.
Changes in climate might influence nature seriously. The rise of temperature and the increasing happenings of extreme weather events change the seasons: spring starts earlier and the winter starts later. Bird lay their eggs earlier (Fig. 5.10), migrating species arrive earlier and depart later and spring flowers will bloom earlier. Because the shift in spring is not for every species the same, the food chain might be disturbed. At the same time, species are shifting slowly towards the northeast (Fig. 5.11). In the Netherlands regular species and the species from the south will increase, while northern species and rare species will decrease. Many species are not capable of following a shift of climate zones of 400 m in a century. This results in a threat of extinction for several species.
In the Netherlands the sensitivity for climate change for different ecological typologies has been mapped (Blom et al., 2008). Those sensitivities, which are especially important in relation to climate change, are drawn on these maps. Figure 5.12 gives the maps for the disconnections in the ecological main structure of the Netherlands and the existence of cold-loving species. The most disconnections can be found in the southern and eastern parts of the country. The same pattern is found for the existence of cold-loving species.
The sensitivity patterns for heat-stress and droughts as well as sensitivity for coastal erosion is shown in Fig. 5.13. The most sensitive areas for heat and drought are found in peat bog and marine clay areas (Fig. 5.13, in red). Within the higher grounds especially the peat-moor, wet heather and brook-valleys are very sensitive.
The most sensitive areas for coastal erosion are limited to tidal zones (marsh and salting) and dunes.
The areas, which are most sensitive for salination and for floods are represented in Fig. 5.14. Peat-bog swamps and marine clay areas are very sensitive for salination, while the higher sandy grounds are sensitive to floods from surface water (brooks and rivers).
If all distinct sensitivities are integrated, the most sensitive areas for climate change in the Netherlands can be drawn on a map (Fig. 5.15). Examples of
ecological types, which are very sensitive for climate change, are wet heather, peat-moor and freshwater lakes on marine clay. Furthermore, sensitive types can be found in large units at higher sandy grounds. The method of integrating sensitivities of different ecological types leads to a combinatory of sensitivities for different effects of climate change. Because of that, only types, which are sensitive to more effects, remain on the map. Types, which are very sensitive for only one effect of climate change are scored less sensitive on the integrated map and disappear. The question may be posed if it were not better to simply add up all very sensitive types in the map. The effect would have been that a larger area is sensitive for the effects of climate change.
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