The study was conducted in two small municipalities in Małopolskie voivodeship in Southern Poland. Both municipalities are located in mountain basins in the Western Beskids mountain range.Cores were taken from trees growing near the centre of Rabka-Zdrój and Sucha Beskidzka in order to analyse the impact of contemporary air pollution on the health of tree stands. Annual tree rings developed during the era of high atmospheric pollution are usually narrower than the others. These municipalities were chosen due to their current air pollution problems despite their relatively small population.Local chronology, skeleton plots and calculated ring reductions were created for the sample trees. Temporal relationships between air pollution and a negative health reaction in trees and in people were also examined. To fulfil this objective the dates of occurrence of tree-ring reductions were compared with the concentration of particulates (PM10) in the atmosphere and also lung disease morbidity in the local population. Two periods of reduced annual tree rings were detected: first from the 1960s to the end of the 1980s (associated with industrial pollution) and more recently the years since 2003. Since 2003 reductions of annual tree rings have increased in parallel with increases in dust pollution. This reaction of trees to dust pollution was immediate. The negative reaction of trees preceded several years of increasing lung disease morbidity. This gives basic evidence to support the argument that tree ring reductions could be used as an early bioindicator for warning against the risk of air pollution. The aim of this work was to determine the periods of reduction in the annual growth of spruce growing near the centre of Rabka-Zdrój and Sucha Beskidzka. In addition, potential associations were sought between the time of occurrence of these periods and changes in air pollution and human disease.
The aim of this study was to present the use of the natural elements of the relief of river valleys such as changes in the width of the valley bottom, landforms occurring in the bottom of the valley, differences in height of the valley terraces as favourable for the location of the dam partitioning the bottom of the valley and creating a water reservoir for the requirements of historic metallurgical centres. The research was carried out based on DEM analysis from LiDAR data. Features were chosen in river basins with a rich metallurgical legacy. Analysis of the location of the former ironworks was carried out using Surfer 12 software. Five centres were selected due to the fact that only these are the only centres suitable for research which have survived to this day. Using the shaded relief models and contour coloured maps absolute differences in height between valley levels and other forms of relief occurring in the valley were analyzed, as well as the distribution of individual terrain forms in the designated part of the valley and changes in the width of the valley bottom were analysed in the context of the location of former metallurgical centres. On the basis of the contours of the former water reservoir visible in the valley relief, and using a surface area measurement tool (Surfer software), the range of the area that the reservoir could cover was measured. On the basis of the results obtained, it can be seen that convenient geomorphological conditions were used for the placement of selected weirs and metallurgical ponds which facilitated the damming of the valley. Natural narrowing of the valley bottom, or dunes and hills directly adjacent to the valley floor, were utilised during the construction of the dam. The rivers on which the furnace ponds were constructed are relatively small watercourses, so the weirs created by the constructors are not impressive. Their height is generally in the range of about 2 to 3 metres and their length is from about 120 to 300 metres. Nevertheless, they were effective in allowing sufficient water retention and the creation of furnace ponds with a measured area of about 4.5 ha to about 25 ha.
Charcoal was the primary fuel used for iron smelting and processing until the end of the 19th century. It was produced through burning piles of wood called charcoal kilns. The aim of the study was to identify and record traces of charcoal kilns related to past ironworks in the valley of the River Czarna (Małopolska Upland, Central Poland). Detailed analysis was conducted in areas adjacent to historical centres of iron processing in Maleniec, Kołoniec and Machory. A quantitative analysis of the traces of charcoal kilns in the topography was done based on DEM from airborne LiDAR. Soil profiles were analysed at the sites where traces of charcoal kilns were identified from DEM. Radiocarbon dating and palaeobotanical analyses were performed for selected charcoal from kiln remnants. In the study area we identified over 11,500 charcoal kilns. The radiocarbon age of these charcoals indicate that the charcoal kilns under study were used in the 15th, 18th and 19th century. Thus the results suggest that the iron industry in the studied area is c 100 years older than the historical written sources indicate. Palaeobotanical analyses show that coniferous trees were used for charcoal production. The large number of traces of charcoal kilns and their wide spatial distribution indicate that past charcoal production has had a significant impact on the environment and landscape change in the River Czarna valley and adjacent areas.