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Open access

Jozef Varga, Radoslava Kanianska and Ján Spišiak

Abstract

The aim of the study was to analyse the impact of land use and altitudinal gradient including geological conditions on selected soil physical properties with subsequent effect on earthworms as important soil organisms. The research was conducted at three study sites (Očová – OC, Tajov – TA, Liptovská Teplička – LT) situated in the different climatic and natural conditions of Slovakia each with 3 plots differing in land use (arable land - AL, permanent grasslands – PG, forest land – FL). During 2014 over two periods, we measured soil penetration resistance (PR) with total depth of the measurement (DP) and soil moisture (SM). Earthworms were hand sorted counted and weighed. We found out high variability of measured parameters conditioned by time, space (altitudinal gradient) and land use. PR values of all measurements ranged from 0.19 to 5.00 MPa, DP values from 0.02 to 0.80 m and soil moisture from 2 to 50%. Paired samples test confirmed differences between different land use types mainly between AL and FL plots. There were confirmed significant differences between three ecological gradients in all observed properties with one exception. Correlations among observed variables under different altitudinal gradients and land use types were found. The earthworm density and biomass was significantly higher in permanent grasslands compared to forest and arable land. In arable land, the earthworm density and biomass negatively correlated with the penetration resistance and positively with the depth of the total measurements. In permanent grasslands earthworm biomass positively correlated with soil moisture.

Open access

Anna Pawlikowska-Piechotka

Urban greens and sustainable land policy management (case study in Warsaw)

This paper examines the changes of meaning of public greens in the contemporary urban landscape. Although the value and preservation of green areas have become important land use policy topics, still little attention is paid to family gardens and their tenants. As a part of tradition and history, allotments have been present on the European landscape for over one hundred years. At first, they were located in the suburbs during the nineteenth century, scattered on the fringes of towns. However, as the gardens are now located on sites found close to city centres, they have recently come under the threat of being overtaken by developers. In Poland, local authorities are responsible by law for the provision and management of allotments, yet there are usually long waiting lists, at least several years in Warsaw. If there is shortage of allotments why not create more ‘family gardens’? What role do allotments play in official spatial planning policy? What is the statistical picture of allotments in Poland? This paper not only examines the tradition of urban allotments and their contemporary picture as a public green space, it juxtaposes two sub-themes: the story of allotment gardens in Poland and the story of a single Warsaw allotment site, where our field studies were carried out. The empirical results of our field surveys show that urban inhabitants are very interested in gardening. First, these gardens represent important source of recreational activity to males and females, regardless of their age and social status. Second, these gardens represent urban and family tradition, as contemporary tenants are often representatives of the third or even the fourth generation of the users of a particular plot. Third, for thousands of low-income families, allotments are both essential as a source of fresh produce (fruits and vegetables) and also as an opportunity to enjoy holidays free of charge. All in all our research results suggest that allotment gardens in the contemporary built environment not only improve the urban climate but also play an important role in strengthening family and community connections. Moreover, by providing the opportunity for various recreational, outdoor activities such as gardening, sports and games considerably help to promote ‘healthy life style’. This paper is based on the author’s field experience and on empirical studies, both of which strongly support the notion that contemporary urban allotments play a crucial role in town green systems and provide a significant contribution to life quality of urban inhabitants, especially for the elderly and low income citizens. It seems that a growing interest in urban ecology and sustainable planning policy should lead to the idea of saving allotments (along with other urban green spaces). The paper concludes that, when considering the future of urban allotments, the main problems can be seen in the present institutional context of urban planning policy, land use concepts, and attitudes of the local authorities towards allotments. The allotments, which often occupy the city’s prime locations, are accused of limiting urban development possibilities and are criticised for ugliness and poor management. However, as it seems, as the leisure value of allotments has increased in recent decades, their role in urban space, new plot layouts and garden design should consequently be revised.

Open access

Amare Sewnet

Abstract

Land cover is the physical and biological cover of the surface whereas land use covers the results of human activities for the exploitation of it. The land cover and landuse change is caused by both, natural and anthropogenic factors. The objective of this study was to detect land cover/use changes in Infraz Watershed. The study has used ArcGIS10 and ERDAS IMAGINE10, landsat images of 1973, 1986, 1995 and 2011 and socio-economic data to analyze land cover and landuse changes of Infraz watershed. The study has found that due to the population increase and improper agricultural activity bush and wetlands have declined where as farm and settlement lands expanded between the study years. About 1044 wetlands and 6338.7 ha of bush lands were lost and converted to cultivated and farm lands, grass lands and forest covers which were increased by 6685.3, 357.7 and 338.3 ha between the study periods respectively. There is an urgent need to limit the population growth rate and implementing land use policy in the Infraz watershed.

Open access

Jakub Czaja

Abstract

Development within the River Little Vistula valley undoubtedly started at the very beginnings of the Polish state. At that stage, human activity focused on finding and adapting sites that were suitable for permanent settlement and also on utilising the resources found in the valley and afforded by the river such as fishing and shipping opportunities. The shape of the River Little Vistula alluvial fan also allowed the construction of numerous canals branching from the river channel, on which mills, fulleries and sawmills were established. The characteristics of the landscape changes which have taken place in the study area have been presented on the basis of analyses of large-scale (1:28,800) topographic maps from the mid-18th and 19th centuries, modern topographic maps and also from visits to the study area (General-Mappa des Merzogthums Ober-Schleisien 1763–1764 and Übersicht der Militar Aufmahme von Mähren und Schlesien, 1839-1840). It was found that landscapes of the River Little Vistula alluvial fan are “landscapes of valleys and plains subject to water accumulation and floods”. Such areas are characterised by the presence of groundwater at low depths and are subject to periodic flooding by river waters, which are rich in mineral substances. Their habitats include riparian forests and flood meadows, which have often been transformed into arable fields. Characteristic types of soils in these areas include alluvial soils and peats, and typical elements of the landscape are water bodies, mainly fish ponds.

Open access

Marcel KLIMENT, Jakub KOČICA and Tomáš KLIMENT

Abstract

Spatial data have become very important phenomena within the last decade in Europe due to a strong support from the political spectrum with regard to related legislation and resulting in financial support to several research, educational, and enlargement projects. INSPIRE (Infrastructure for Spatial Information in the European Community) Directive indeed defines the principles for the harmonization of spatial data infrastructure in the European community, including Land Use and Land Cover data themes. INSPIRE defines a methodology on how to transform datasets to common data models, but it does not cover the process of data collection and update, because it is out of its scope. Evaluation of the Land Use dataset derived from remote sensing products complemented by fieldworks has been realized since 2006 by Eurostat within the LUCAS (Land Use and Cover Area frame Survey) project. The work presented in this paper follows the LUCAS fieldwork methodology, which was applied during the fieldwork in July 2014 in the City of Zagreb (Croatia), to use at the local (municipal) geoportal level. The surveying groups collected point features with the following data type attributes: Land Use codes defined by HILUCS (Hierarchical INSPIRE Land Use Classification System) and optional Land Cover codes defined by LUCAS classification. In addition, photographs representing the observed areas were collected by cameras embedded in the mobile GIS platforms. An update of original topological layer was performed and Web GIS components for sharing the newly developed datasets were implemented. The results presented provide a suitable proposal for fieldworks methodology and updates of a land use database in line with the INSPIRE directive applicable at a local spatial data infrastructure level.

Open access

Łukasz Wiejaczka, Jan Romuald Olędzki, Anna Bucała-Hrabia and Małgorzata Kijowska-Strugała

Abstract

This study analyzed the temporal and spatial changes in land use taking place in two adjacent river valleys, located within the Polish Carpathians. The land use in 1977 and 2009 was presented for selected areas. In one of the valleys, a dam has been operating since 1994 along with a retention reservoir, which is an additional factor influencing the direction and scale of the land use changes. An analysis using GIS techniques showed that the general directions of transformation in both valleys in the land use structure are similar but with different intensity. In studied valleys a decrease of area with agricultural land and gradual increase in the forested area have been observed. In the valley with the reservoir few more changes were noticed. The decrease of the forested area by 5.5% and farmland by 8.2% on the areas submerged by reservoir was observed. The strip fields pattern has been changed into more dispersed. The road network development was also observed, as well as the change of nature of residential/agricultural buildings into residential/recreational.

Open access

Dadi Feyisa, Endalkachew Kissi and Zerihun Kebebew

Abstract

Despite their restriction, smallholder farmers have been continuing growing Eucalyptus globulus in the cultivated land in the central highland of Ethiopia. Literature has shown controversial issues against E. globulus. Therefore, the objective of the study was to investigate the compatibility of E. globulus in the smallholder farmers’ land use system. Soil samples were collected from five different land uses and analysed for selected physical and chemical properties. The socioeconomic contribution of E. globulus was collected through household surveys from 110 households. Analysis of soil showed that organic carbon (OC), total nitrogen (TN) and cation exchange capacity (CEC) were significantly higher (P<0.05) under E. globulus compared to the cultivated land. The survey results also showed that the largest proportion (58%) of households was interested in growing E. globulus because of its multiple uses. About 83% of households responded that E. globulus help them to attain food security through increasing the purchasing power of smallholder farmers to buy agricultural inputs and food. This study has substantiated the role of E. globulus in the land use system of smallholder farmers. Most of the soil fertility indicators were better under E. globulus. The present finding reveals that E. globulus degrade the soil seemingly difficult to generalise. Growing E. globulus must be promoted under appealing land use to enhance smallholder farmers’ livelihoods. Removing E. globulus from the land use system may jeopardise the food security situation of many households.

Open access

Addo Koranteng, Isaac Adu-Poku and Tomasz Zawila-Niedzwiecki

Abstract

Land-use and land-cover change in both forest reserves and off-reserves is a critical issue in sub Saharan Africa. Deforestation and conversion of forest land to agricultural land continue to be one of the major environmental problems in Africa, and for that matter, Ghana cannot be exceptional; and its resultant effect is the loss in the ecological integrity and the quality of forests, resulting in carbon loss and the resultant climate change effects (FAO 2016). The study area covers the Community Resource Management Areas (CREMA) of the Mole National Park in Ghana, and this study reveals that the area is well endowed with a diverse composition and structure of woodland including dense, open and riverine stretches, which – under the national definition of forest – qualifies as forest. The results reveal that there had been an annual deforestation rate of 0.11% over the period of review. It was concluded from the study that woodland had high carbon stocks with an average carbon of 80 tC/ha, the highest being 194 tC/ha and the lowest being 7 tC/ha, which was recorded in the dense woodland and grassland respectively. The fluxes within the land sector in the study area are moderate and the potential of the area to qualify for as REDD+ is very high. However, the drivers of deforestation, especially bush fires and illegal timber harvesting, are challenges that need to be addressed.

Open access

Gad Schaffer and Noam Levin

Abstract

This paper examines changes in Israel's landscape by comparing two time periods, 1881 and 2011. For this purpose we compared land cover derived from the Palestine Exploration Fund historical map to a present land cover map that was compiled from 38 different present-day GIS layers. The research aims were (1) to quantitatively examine what were the changes in Israel's landscape between 1881 and 2011; (2) to identify and explain spatial patterns in these landscape changes. Landscape transformation was categorized into five classes: 'residual bare' (no change in natural vegetation, mostly in desert areas); 'residual' (i.e. remnant; no change in natural vegetation class); 'transformed' (changes between different natural vegetation areas); 'replaced' (area which became managed); 'removed' (no or minimal natural vegetation). We found that only 21% of the area retained similar landscape classes as in the past, with the largest changes taking place in ecoregions that were favorable for developing agriculture - Jezreel Valley and the Sharon Plain. Two physical factors had a strong effect on the type of change in the landscape: (1) most of the agricultural areas and human settlements were found in areas ranging between 400-600 mm/year (2) natural land cover features were more common in areas with steeper slopes. We found that the majority of protected areas, 54.6%, are comprised of remnant vegetation classes (i.e. residual transformation class) however more than half of protected areas are located in desert areas and are thus biased in their representation of land cover classes.

Open access

Joana Sender and Weronika Maślanko

ABSTRACT

The Łęczna-Włodawa Plain, known also as the Łęczna-Wlodawa Lakeland, lies within the territory of the largest subregion of the Polesie region, covering over 1,300 km2. The main interest of the Łęczna-Włodawa Lakeland is that it is the oldest in the Central European Lowlands group of about 68 lakes. Among such a large number of lakes there exist all trophic types. However, since the late 1950’s, enormous dynamics of change associated with the disappearance of oligo- and mesotrophic lakes and their transformation into eutrophic, even hypertrophic, lakes have been observed. One of the biocenotic elements of the lakes, which are indicators of these changes, is aquatic plants. The aim of this study was to determine the macrophyte structure of Piaseczno Lake and changes of land use in its surroundings. Piaseczno Lake still represents very high natural values. A reduction in the number of macrophyte communities, which occurred especially in 2008, was a consequence of the fast-growing recreation infrastructure.

From 1976 until 2010 an area of recreation infrastructure in the studied area increased more than 3.5 times, and in the built-up area more than five times, as well as a doubling of the total length of the roads. Meanwhile the surface area of wetlands and peatbogs significantly decreased - more than 11 times.

Long-term changes in the structure of the macrophyte communities show that the number of communities has varied in each year, probably as a consequence of changes in landuse. Analysis showed changes to the surfaces inhabited by macrophytes, which have decreased significantly over only four years, by more than 25%. However, the proportion of rush communities has increased.