Land abandonment in Poland after the collapse of socialism: Over a quarter of a century of increasing tree cover on agricultural land
Jarosław Janus , Piotr Bożek
AbstractLand abandonment is an important topic of discussion in many European countries but is particularly relevant for Central and Eastern Europe. When analyzing this issue, a major challenge is to assess the extent and dynamics of these changes in a way that combines high accuracy and a large study area. The article presents the phenomenon of land abandonment in Poland after the political transformation that took place at the turn of the 1980s and 1990s. The analysis covered an area of about 15,000 km2 that is characterized by unfavorable land fragmentation indicators and the dominance of small-area farms. The region was intensively used for agriculture until the fall of socialism; since then, the phenomenon of land abandonment has increased rapidly. The proposed method for identifying abandoned land uses Airborne Laser Scanning (ALS) data to precisely determine the extent of tree cover and the height of trees. Assuming the correlation between the height of trees and their age allowed estimation of the long-term changeability of land abandonment. The study covered the extent and dynamics of changes in tree cover in over 1800 villages. The results indicate that the problem of land abandonment noticeably and permanently changes the spatial patterns of land use in Southern Poland. The identified extent of forest cover has increased continuously since the political transformation in 63% of the studied villages. In total, over the last quarter of a century, land abandonment related to forest expansion on agricultural land has been observed in an area of 93,600 ha, which is 10.5% of the entire region. The proposed method has shown its usefulness in analyzing land abandonment at the regional level. It allows not only precise identification of the size of areas covered with tall vegetation, but also approximate assessment of the dynamics of these changes over time.
|Journal series||Ecological Engineering, ISSN 0925-8574, e-ISSN 1872-6992, (N/A 100 pkt)|
|Publication size in sheets||0.55|
|Keywords in English||Cropland abandonment, LiDAR, Airborne scanning, Land cover change, Socialism collapse, Forest transition|
|ASJC Classification||; ;|
|Publication indicators||= 0; : 2018 = 1.451; : 2018 = 3.406 (2) - 2018=3.617 (5)|
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