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Open access

Marta Szostak, Piotr Wężyk, Paweł Hawryło and Marta Puchała

Abstract

The role of image classification based on multi-source, multi-temporal and multi-resolution remote sensed data is on the rise in the environmental studies due to the availability of new satellite sensors, easier access to aerial orthoimages and the automation of image analysis algorithms. The remote sensing technology provides accurate information on the spatial and temporal distribution of land use and land cover (LULC) classes. The presented study focuses on LULC change dynamics (especially secondary forest succession) that occurred between 1974 and 2010 in the Błędów Desert (an area of approx. 1210 ha; a unique refuge habitat – NATURA 2000; South Poland). The methods included: photointerpretation and on-screen digitalization of KH-9 CORONA (1974), aerial orthoimages (2009) and satellite images (LANDSAT 7 ETM+, 1999 and BlackBridge – RapidEye, 2010) and GIS spatial analyses. The results of the study have confirmed the high dynamic of the overgrowth process of the Błędów Desert by secondary forest and shrub vegetation. The bare soils covered 19.3% of the desert area in 1974, the initial vegetation and bush correspondingly 23.1% and 30.5%. In the years 2009/2010 the mentioned classes contained: the bare soils approx. 1.1%, the initial vegetation – 8.7% and bush – 15.8%. The performed classifications and GIS analyses confirmed a continuous increase in the area covered by forests, from 11.6% (KH-9) up to 24.2%, about 25 years later (LANDSAT 7) and in the following 11 years, has shown an increase up to 35.7% (RapidEye 2010).

Open access

Piotr Wężyk, Paweł Hawryło, Marta Szostak, Marcin Pierzchalski and Roeland De Kok

Abstract

Land Use and Land Cover (LULC) maps play an important role in an environmental modelling, and for many years efforts have been made to improve and streamline the expensive mapping process. The aim of the study was to create LULC maps of three selected water catchment areas in South Poland using a Geographic Object-Based Image Analysis (GEOBIA) in order to highlight the advantages of this innovative, semi-automatic method of image analysis. the classification workflow included: multi-stage and multi-scale analyses based on a data fusion approach. Input data consisted mainly of BlackBridge (RapidEye) high resolution satellite imagery, although for distinguishing particular LULC classes, additional satellite images (LANDSAT TM5) and GIS-vector data were used. Accuracy assessment of GEOBIA classification results varied from 0.83 to 0.87 (kappa), depending on the specific catchment area. The main recognized advantages of GEOBIA in the case study were: performing of multi-stage and multi-scale image classification using different features for specific LULC classes and the ability to using knowledge-based classification in conjunction with the data fusion approach in an efficient and reliable manner.

Open access

Marta Szostak, Piotr Wężyk, Paweł Hawryło and Marcin Pietrzykowski

Abstract

The aim of this study was to investigate the possible use of geoinformatics tools and generally available geodata for mapping land cover/use on the reclaimed areas. The choice of subject was dictated by the growing number of such areas and the related problem of their restoration. Modern technology, including GIS, photogrammetry and remote sensing are relevant in assessing the reclamation effects and monitoring of changes taking place on such sites. The LULC classes mapping, supported with thorough knowledge of the operator, is useful tool for the proper reclamation process evaluation.

The study was performed for two post-mine sites: reclaimed external spoil heap of the sulfur mine Machów and areas after exploitation of sulfur mine Jeziórko, which are located in the Tarnobrzeski district. The research materials consisted of aerial orthophotos, which were the basis of on-screen vectorization; LANDSAT satellite images, which were used in the pixel and object based classification; and the CORINE Land Cover database as a general reference to the global maps of land cover and land use.

Open access

Tomasz Wanic, Jan Bodziarczyk, Michał Gąsiorek, Paweł Hawryło, Agnieszka Józefowska, Bartłomiej Kajdas, Ryszard Mazurek, Marta Szostak, Michał Usień, Piotr Wężyk, Paweł ZadrożNy, Karolina Zięba-Kulawik and Tomasz Zaleski

Abstract

The primary objective of this study was to characterise the edaphic conditions of forest areas in the Pieniny National Park (PNP), and to describe the dependencies between properties of forest soils and types of forest plant communities. The “Soil Trophic Index” (SIGg) for mountainous areas was applied. The evaluation of the trophism for 74 forest monitoring employed the soil trophic index for mountainous areas SIGg or SIGgo. Plant communities in the forest monitoring areas were classified according to the Braun-Blanquet’s phytosociological method. Soils of PNP present in the forest monitoring areas were mostly classified as eutrophic brown soils (72.9%), rendzinas (10.8%), brown rendzinas (5.41%), and rubble initial soils (5.41%). Pararendzinas, dystrophic brown soils, and gley soils were less common (total below 5.5%). In the forest monitoring areas of PNP, eutrophic soils predominate over mesotrophic soils. High SIGg index of the soils is caused by high values of acidity and nitrogen content. The Carpathian beech forest Dentario glandulosae-Fagetum and thermophilic beech forest Carici albae-Fagetum associations are characterised by high naturalness and compatibility of theoretical habitats. The soils of the Carpathian fir forest Dentario glandulosae-Fagetum abietetosum subcommunity is characterised by a higher share of silt and clay particles and lower acidity as compared to the Carpathian beech forest Dentario glandulosae-Fagetum typicum subcommunity. The soils of the forest monitoring areas in PNP stand out in terms of their fertility against forest soils in other mountainous areas in Poland.

Open access

Piotr Wężyk, Marta Szostak, Wojciech Krzaklewski, Marek Pająk, Marcin Pierzchalski, Piotr Szwed, Paweł Hawryło and Michał Ratajczak

Abstract

The quarrying industry is changing the local landscape, forming deep open pits and spoil heaps in close proximity to them, especially lignite mines. The impact can include toxic soil material (low pH, heavy metals, oxidations etc.) which is the basis for further reclamation and afforestation. Forests that stand on spoil heaps have very different growth conditions because of the relief (slope, aspect, wind and rainfall shadows, supply of solar energy, etc.) and type of soil that is deposited. Airborne laser scanning (ALS) technology deliver point clouds (XYZ) and derivatives as raster height models (DTM, DSM, nDSM=CHM) which allow the reception of selected 2D and 3D forest parameters (e.g. height, base of the crown, cover, density, volume, biomass, etc). The automation of ALS point cloud processing and integrating the results into GIS helps forest managers to take appropriate decisions on silvicultural treatments in areas with failed plantations (toxic soil, droughts on south-facing slopes; landslides, etc.) or as regular maintenance. The ISOK country-wide project ongoing in Poland will soon deliver ALS point cloud data which can be successfully used for the monitoring and management of many thousands of hectares of destroyed post-industrial areas which according to the law, have to be afforested and transferred back to the State Forest.

Open access

Marta Szostak, Piotr Wężyk, Marek Pająk, Paweł Haryło and Marek Lisańczuk

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to determine the spatial structure of vegetation on the repository of the mine “Fryderyk” in Tarnowskie Góry. Tested area was located in the Upper Silesian Industrial Region (a large industrial region in Poland). It was a unique refuge habitat – Natura2000; PLH240008. The main aspect of this elaboration was to investigate the possible use of geotechniques and generally available geodata for mapping LULC changes and determining the spatial structure of vegetation. The presented study focuses on the analysis of a spatial structure of vegetation in the research area. This exploration was based on aerial images and orthophotomaps from 1947, 1998, 2003, 2009, 2011 and airborne laser scanning data (2011, ISOK project). Forest succession changes which occurred between 1947 and 2011 were analysed. The selected features of vegetation overgrowing spoil heap “Fryderyk” was determined.

The results demonstrated a gradual succession of greenery on soil heap. In 1947, 84% of this area was covered by low vegetation. Tree expansion was proceeding in the westerly and northwest direction. In 2011 this canopy layer covered almost 50% of the research area. Parameters such as height of vegetation, crowns length and cover density were calculated by an airborne laser scanning data. These analyses indicated significant diversity in vertical and horizontal structures of vegetation. The study presents some capacities to use airborne laser scanning for an impartial evaluation of the structure of vegetation.