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Marek Kopacz, Agnieszka Kowalczyk, Sylwester Smoroń and Zbigniew Ostrach

Abstract

The article presents the results of the analysis of water needs in agricultural production of the Grybów commune (the district of Nowy Sącz, the Małopolska province). The aim of this study was to determine both the current water needs for agricultural purposes as well as changes in this regard based on structural and production data. The guidelines specified in the Ordinance of the Minister of Infrastructure of 14 January 2002 concerning average norms of water consumption were applied to determine water needs. The average annual water demand of crops together with permanent grassland (meadows, pastures) amounts to 23.7 mln m3, of which about 2.15 mln m3 is for winter wheat, 1.92 mln m3 for potatoes and 17.6 mln m3 for permanent grassland. Significant amounts of water (over 130,000 m3) are used also for watering home gardens and cultivating vegetables in plastic tunnels and greenhouses. Water needs for animals farming reach about 235,000 m3 in a year. Most water is needed for farming the cattle. It is predicted that the demand for water in the agricultural sector of the commune will increase by about 5.5% by 2030. Therefore, the activities monitoring the awareness of water saving and proper water management among the population of the villages are important.

Open access

Kinga Mazurek

Abstract

The area of the Upper Silesian Coal Basin is the most important underground mining district in Poland. Coal mines, operating in the area since the eighteenth century, have contributed to massive transformations of the landscape structure. River valleys within range of intensive exploitation activities have been undergoing vast changes. The Slepiotka River drainage basin constitutes an interesting regional example of transformations in the river's watercourse as well as in its adjacent area. It is a left-hand tributary of the Klodnica River with a length of about 8.6 km.

Changes in the landscape structure that occurred between 1824-1993 have been analyzed. The starting material consisted of topographical maps that were digitized and calibrated and served as a basis to create colorful compositions. The areas occupied by the different land cover types have been calculated, which allowed to determine their participation in the drainage basin.

In about 169 years, significant changes took place in the area of research considering the share of different types of cover and land use. During this time, the river changed its course, both naturally and by human activities. Increasing urbanization and technological development contributed to the diametrical transformation of the landscape structure in the discussed area

Open access

Piotr A. Werner

Abstract

The dependency of land use and the neighbouring land cover patches is related to the existing neighbourhood or the predominant land use types in a given region, which stimulates further land changes of the lot being observed. Land use changes can be considered a complex and (to an extent) random process. The complexity of interactions means that the conventional deductive models are constrained, particularly in the case of the spatio-temporal phenomena, and implies the application of cellular automata to spatial research. Cellular automata are similar to the map algebra models in GIS. The concept of using neighbourhood coefficients in the analysis of land use changes is based on the combination of map algebra with two-dimensional cellular automata. The aims of this research included formulating the theoretical structure of neighbourhood coefficients, analysing their operationalization and testing their practical application. The verification of research and procedures included maps and statistics of simulations of land use changes in Poland.

Open access

Duncan McCollin, Richard C. Preece and Tim H. Sparks

Abstract

Studies that examine changes in the populations of flora and fauna often do so against a baseline of relatively recent distribution data. It is much rarer to see evaluations of population change over the longer–term in order to extend the baseline back in time. Here, we use two methods (regression analysis and line of equality) to identify long-term differences in abundance derived from qualitative descriptions, and we test the efficacy of this approach by comparison with contemporary data. We take descriptions of bird population abundance in Cambridgeshire, UK, from the first half of the 19th century and compare these with more recent estimates by converting qualitative descriptions to an ordinal scale. We show, first, that the ordinal scale of abundance corresponds well to quantitative estimates of density and range size based on current data, and, second, that the two methods of comparison revealed both increases and declines in species, some of which were consistent using both approaches but others showed differing responses. We also show that the regional rates of extinction (extirpation) for birds are twice as high as equivalent rates for plants. These data extend analyses of avifaunal change back to a baseline 160-190 years before present, thus bringing a novel perspective on long-term change in populations and categories of conservation concern (e.g., Amber- or Red-lists) based on recent data. Changes in status are discussed in relation to various factors, although perhaps the most pervasive were of anthropogenic origin.

Open access

Elena Novenko, Pavel Shilov, Dmitry Khitrov and Daniil Kozlov

Abstract

The last one hundred years of land use history in the southern part of Valdai Hills (European Russia) were reconstructed on the base of high resolution pollen data from the peat monolith taken from the Central Forest State Reserve supplementing with historical records derived from maps of the General Land Survey of the 18th and 19th centuries and satellite images. According to the created age model provided by dating using radio-nuclides 210Pb and 137Cs, pollen data of the peat monolith allow us to reconstruct vegetation dynamics during the last one hundred years with high time resolution. The obtained data showed that, despite the location of the studied peatland in the center of the forest area and rather far away from possible croplands and hayfields, the pollen values of plants – anthropogenic indicators (Secale sereale, Centaurea cyanus, Plantago, Rumex, etc.) and micro-charcoal concentration are relatively high in the period since the beginning of the 20th century to the 1970s, especially in the peat horizon formed in the 1950s. In the late 1970s – the early 1980s when the pollen values of cereals gradually diminished in assemblages, the quantity of pollen of other anthropogenic indicators were also significantly reduced, which reflects the overall processes of the agriculture decline in the forest zone of the former USSR.

Open access

Szilvia Mészáros, Attila Gergely and Zsuzsanna Illyés

Abstract

Field surveys are essential in the Hungarian motorway planning process so that it would be possible to assess their impacts on the landscape, since the available databases are insufficient in respect of listing all the valuable elements of the landscape. The aims of the research are to analyse the impacts of the planned M30 Motorway (located in north-eastern Hungary) on the landscape, to enumerate the cultural and natural valuable elements of the landscape near and within the area to be expropriated, to explore the possibilities of their protection and to outline the possible land use conflicts likely to arise after the implementation of the motorway. The main sources used for the research were: landscape, green space management and environmental protection studies made for the modification of the affected settlements’ urban plans, field surveys alongside the entire track, and existing environmental databases. In the case of M30 motorway, the chosen corridor was mostly acceptable in the sections where the motorway track leads along the track of the existing Main Road 3, because it is fitted to an existing linear artificial landscape element, it is basically on the border of two natural micro-regions and can also fit into the existing land use structure. Nevertheless, it is not considered to be the best choice in places where it separates vineyards from vine cellars, where it is located within 50 meters from residential areas or where it passes through small plot vineyards or horticultural areas instead of the arable lands of the nearby plain.

Open access

Franciszek Woch and Robert Borek

Abstract

The aim of the work described here has been to point to the relationships between the field-forest boundary and crop productivity as regards the present agrarian land-use structure in Poland, and to provide new opportunities for arranging the agrarian process and the spatial planning of the rural landscape in the context of the sustainable shaping of the field-forest boundary. Impacts of forests and woodlands on crop productivity have been assessed using available data from relevant Polish literature. An assessment of the plot-distribution pattern characterising farms in Poland was made on the basis of reference data from the Agency for the Restructuring and Modernisation of Agriculture. Finally, the possibility of afforestation of agricultural land has been evaluated within the existing legal framework, and on the basis of available data, with attention paid to the need to include organization of the field-forest boundary within the comprehensive management and planning of rural areas, and to preserve woody elements in patchy landscapes. This all creates an opportunity to test innovative approaches to integrated land use which combines the creation of public goods and local products based on participatory learning processes that bring in local stakeholders and decision-makers.

Open access

Hirabuki Yoshihiko, Kanno Hiroshi, Sudesiqin, Su Gencheng and Bao Yuhai

Desertification of the Typical Steppe Landscape Under Field/Stock-Farming Management: An Assessment in Wufuhao Settlement, Central Inner Mongolia

Desertification of the Eurasian steppe biome brings serious problems to the natural environment, socio-economy and people's lives on both local and global scales. In the present study, we focused on the field/pasture-boundary in geographical land-use patterns, distributed in the Typical steppe zone (Stipa krylovii/Cleistogenes squarrosa/Leymus chinensis-dominant steppe) of Inner Mongolia, China, and assessed landscape structure and fragility through the interdisciplinary research. A study site was established in Wufuhao Settlement (41°11'42"N, 111°34'24"E; 1.2kmx2.0km; ca. 1615m a.s.l.), and field surveys consisting of vegetation mapping and sociological censuses were carried out during the 2002-2007 period. The results are summarized as follows: (1) a gently undulating hilly-landform stretched out, (2) since a mass immigration in the 1910's, natural vegetation has been changed into fields (63.9% of the study site) and Populus/Ulmus-plantations (8.6%), (3) 139 vascular plant species were detected, including crops, weeds and halophilous plants, and (4) five types of herbaceous plant communities were distinguished by TWINSPAN, coupled with the difference in micro-scale landforms, cultivation and grazing by livestock. Consequently, in spite of approaches for the environmental restoration, soil erosion by water-flows and winds, salinization, and the degradation of the remaining grassland vegetation, most of which having been caused by unsustainable field/stock-farming management, resulted in an irreversible destruction of the indigenous steppe landscape.

Open access

András Donát Kovács, Edit Hoyk and Jenő Zsolt Farkas

Abstract

In Hungary, the aridification primarily affects the Great Hungarian Plain, most specifically the “Homokhátság” area which is part of the Danube-Tisza Interfluve. On the basis of our experience gained in the past 15 years, we would like to give an insight into the complex problems of this rural region. Our starting point is the aridification process and water scarcity which are characteristic features of this area for the last century. We investigate the related problems in land use management such as unfavourable land use and vegetation changes and the challenges in the local economy and social sustainability. In this respect we introduce the emerging issues in agriculture, forestry and nature conservation which may be relevant in European context too. We have discovered specific factors related to the devaluation of the rural environment and found that significant part of the unfavourable phenomena can be explained by the combined effect of climatic changes, improper land use and inappropriate environmental management. Based on our findings we outline a possible regional pathway for a sustainable rural development.

Open access

Maciej Markiewicz, Sławomir S. Gonet, Włodzimierz Marszelewski, Łukasz Mendyk and Marcin Sykuła

Abstract

The aims of the study were to characterize shoreline soil development and evolution and to determine land use changes (19th to 20th centuries) in the direct catchment of the completely vanished Gardeja lake. The study was based on pedological research and analysis of cartographic materials. The main factor determining the current development of shoreline zone soil cover at the former Gardeja lake was human activity (lake dewatering, further drainage and human-induced erosion). Studied soil profiles were developed from mineral, non-lacustrine materials (upper parts of the slopes) and lacustrine sediments covered with colluvium. The analyzed soil catenas are representative for the undulated young glacial landscape of Northern Poland. The biggest changes of the land use were observed for the class of grasslands that is combined with shrubs (increase of cover area).