Landscape continuity versus landscape transformation: a case study in the Wiar River catchment, Polish Carpathians (1780 - 2000)

Andrzej Affek


All landscapes change over time. The rate and magnitude of changes determine, whether the identity of the landscape survives. In this paper the distinction between continuity and transformation of landscape is discussed. A case study in the hilly rural area of the Upper Wiar River catchment is conducted to exemplify the issue. The study area experienced wide range of possible landscape changes, from gradual evolution in the XIX century to rapid transformation in the middle of the XX century (forced depopulation), causing irreversible loss of landscape character. Two major characteristics of landscape composition (forest cover and settlement area) are analyzed by means of hierarchical and k-means clustering. Contemporary and historic maps dating back to XVIII century are used to reveal the dynamics of the region covering 233 km2. Methodological limitations and possible misinterpretations are also discussed.

Słowa kluczowe

landscape change, forced depopulation, historic maps, GIS, the Carpathians

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