Title: Changes of the Forest Spatial Pattern in the Northern Carpathians in the 20th Century
Authors: KOZAK JacekESTREGUIL ChristineOSTAPOWICZ Katarzyna
Citation: Proceedings of the 11th AGILE 2008 Conference on Geo-information Science p. 1-3
Publisher: AGILE
Publication Year: 2008
JRC N°: JRC49227
URI: http://plone.itc.nl/agile_old/Conference/2008-Girona/index.htm.
Type: Articles in periodicals and books
Abstract: In the northern Carpathians forest area has been increasing throughout the 20th century. Changes in forest cover modified forest spatial pattern, in particular forest fragmentation, with an impact on biodiversity. The aim of this study was to quantify changes of forest spatial pattern between 1930s and the end of the 20th century in the northern Carpathians. Possible implications for biodiversity in the region were discussed. The study was carried out in seven case study areas, sampled along the main Carpathian ridge in Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Ukraine. Forest maps for the 1930s and for the end of the 20th century were used. Forest spatial pattern was quantified using three indices: forest non-core to core ratio (NCC); number of small forest patches in the non-forested area (FP); number of small non-forest patches in the forested area (NFP). Forest cover changes in the 20th century induced significant changes of forest spatial pattern in the studied area. NCC decreased clearly in most case study areas, except where forest cover was relatively high already in the 1930s. FP and NFP increased in most case study areas except where a significant forest cover increase was noted. The rate of change of NCC and related reduction of FP and NFP prove a significant decrease of forest fragmentation in most of the northern Carpathians in the 20th century. In particular, small-size land cover patches (forest or non-forest) were disappearing from the landscape. As a consequence, a decrease of heterogeneity of forested landscapes throughout the 20th century can be concluded. Due to the high rates of recent land abandonment in the region forest cover will likely increase in future, thus contributing to higher naturalness and favouring interior forest species. However, biodiversity related to mosaic-type land use patterns will be threatened.
JRC Directorate:Sustainable Resources

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