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Forest development on Kihnu Island and the role of the human factor in it

Kihnu saare metsade areng ja inimfaktori osa selles

Of the total area of Kihnu Island (16.38 km2), 26% is under a 420-ha pine forest growing on sandy soils and dunes. The forest was estimated to cover about 130 ha (8%) in the early 19th century and 180 ha (11%) in 1949. In 1829-1935 the island's forest was managed predominantly by means of clear cuttings of 1.1 ha in size. Thereafter, it was treated as protection forest. In parallel with clear cutting, clear-cut areas and bare sandy zones were afforested where necessary. Altogether, 210 ha of forest plantations were established in 1829-1949. Intensive forest management and collateral use of forest (grazing on woodlands, gathering of forest litter) led to the impoverishment of the forest soils and stand diversity and deterioration of the forest growth conditions. In the last 75 years the island's forest has effectively enjoyed the status of protection forest, and its area has increased due to shrinking farming activity.

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Human activity and aeolian relief of Starczynów “Desert”, Poland


Starczynów „Desert” is located in the eastern part of the Silesian Upland (southern Poland) and makes a compact area with the occurrence of aeolian sands, which till the 1960s. were intensively blown. Its flat surface is diversified by many dunes of different shapes and sizes. Aeolian coversands are formed here as a cover of changing thickness. The „desert” is not a typical dry climatic area. The term Starczynów „Desert” refers to the area of occurrence of bare sands and aeolian processes and makes a geographical name that can be found on topographic maps. Its development was conditioned by human activity, where since the Middle Ages dense forest areas have been cut to obtain timber for the needs of contemporary mining and metallurgy of lead and silver ores causing the activation of aeolian processes at sandy substratum, built from the Vistulian proluvial-deluvial deposits. In the formation of the aeolian relief of Starczynów „Desert” it is possible to distinguish some stages of intensive wind activity: the 13th-15th centuries, the 16th-17th centuries, the turn of 18th and 19th centuries, the turn of 20th and 21st centuries. In present times human interference in the environment of Starczynów „Desert” consists of fixing sandy areas to protect them from deflation. Human damage exists here in the aeolian relief through terrain levelling and building fire escape roads. In the north-eastern part of the „desert” sand was exploited, therefore a sandpit appeared. This area was subject to the activity of mining for Zn-Pb ores, which caused numerous collapsed cones. In the last few years this part of the „desert” was properly reclaimed.

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Assessment of changes in forest coverage based on historical maps

. 2006. Otepää looduspargi maa-kasutuse muutused. (Changes in the land use in Otepää Nature Park). Pärnu-Tartu, Käsikiri Riiklikus Looduskaitsekeskuses. (Manuscript in the State Nature Conservation Centre). (In Estonian). Kasepalu, A. 1991. Mis peremees jätab, selle mets võtab. (That which the master leaves, the woods will take). Tallinn, Valgus, 128 pp. (In Estonian). Kiimann, H., Rivis, R., Ratas U. 2007. Forest landscape changes on Naissaar Island (Gulf of Finland, Estonia) since the 17th century. - Forestry

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Tracing fire cultivation in Estonia

systems in Estonia. - Tools and Tillage, 7, 2-3, 1993-1994, 67-82. Lang, V. 2007. The Bronze Age and Early Iron Age in Estonia. - Estonian Archaeology 3, Tartu University Press. 298 pp. Laul, S., Kihno, K., 1999. Prehistoric Land Use and Settlement History on the Haanja Heights, Southeastern Estonia, with Special Reference to the Siksali-Hino Area. - PACT, 57, 239-254. Ligi, H. 1963. Põllumajanduslik maakasutus Eestis XVI-XVII sajandil. (Agrarian land-use in Estonia 16th-17th centuries

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