Sweeping study finds big landscape changes on the fringes of Europe’s protected areas
Quaint cobblestone towns and green pastures dot the Pyrenees Mountains, at the gates of Catalonia’s Aigüestortes i Estany de Sant Maurici National Park. Hike a few miles into the park, though, and the Spanish landscape of trickling rivers and montane meadows looks relatively untouched by people. Visit almost any national park, and it’s a similar story, with tourist towns, farms, and other development lapping at the edges of conserved lands. But just how much does the landscape change at these fringes over time compared with the protected areas?