The long history of human land use have had a strong influence on ecosystems and landscapes in the boreal forest region of Northern Europe and created semi-natural habitats of high conservation value. In this study, we quantify land-cover change and loss of semi-natural grassland in an agricultural landscape (6.2 km2) in the boreal region of Norway from 1960 to 2015, and document a 49.1% loss of area that was semi-natural grassland in 1960. The remaining semi-natural grasslands became smaller and the connectivity between them decreased. Intensification and abandonment of agricultural land use were of approximately equal importance for the loss of semi-natural grassland although the relative contribution of these processes depended on the topography and distance to farmsteads. The study provides an example of how change in land cover can be estimated and key drivers identified on a scale that is relevant for implementation of management and conservation measures.
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