Geographia Polonica

Geographia Polonica has been published since 1964; in the years 1964–1998 as a serial publication. Since 1999 – as a journal with two issues per year (Spring and Autumn), and since 2012 there are four issues per year (March, July, October, December). Contributions to the journal on both human and physical geography topics as well as related fields (e.g. urban and regional planning, ecology) should be submitted to the Editor. Papers dealing with Central and Eastern Europe are particularly welcomed.

News

Geographia Polonica: A window onto the world. An interview with Professor Leszek Antoni Kosiński - IN POLISH

tl_files/gp/kosinski.jpgTo mark the 50th anniversary of Geographia Polonica, we are publishing an interview with Professor Leszek Antoni Kosiński, who was a member of its first editorial team. The interview with Professor Kosiński became an opportunity to talk about the work and successes of Polish geographers on the international stage after the Second World War, and to consider the origins as well as ways of achieving those successes, which are still relevant today. This is a Polish version of the interview. English version is available here.

Read more …

Special issues for 2014 IGU Regional Conference and 50th anniversary of the founding of Geographia Polonica

tl_files/gp/zajawka.jpgWe have great pleasure in inviting you to read the contents of this special issue of Geographia Polonica as well as the upcoming one (vol. 87, issues 2 and 3 of 2014). The special issues have been prepared to coincide with Krakow’s hosting of the 2014 IGU Regional Conference. However, this year also marks a second important occasion for us - the 50th anniversary of the founding of Geographia Polonica. At the same time it is our hope that the two issues will represent that most important voice in geography since the changes in our editorial team at the beginning of 2012, with special attention being paid in many cases to Central and Eastern Europe (including Poland). Our idea in this case has been to compile and present a series of articles written by key persons of the IGU (i.e. Chairs of the IGU Commissions, and Vice-Presidents of the IGU). My vision was for the Commission Chairs to each prepare and publish an article – theoretical or empirical, or even an essay, concerning the stage that has currently been reached by his/her field of interest (Commission subject/sub-discipline), some of the new trends therein, and future directions of research.

Read more …

CALL FOR PAPERS: Central and Eastern Europe a quarter of a century after the fall of the Iron Curtain. The outcome of change.

tl_files/igipz/ZPZ/foto_news/mur.jpgThe political breakthrough in 1989 set in motion a range of processes that would fundamentally transform the organisation and functioning of spatial systems across Central Europe. More than two decades later, we want to take stock of this broad-ranging change in their social, economic and environmental dimensions.  A volume entitled “Central and Eastern Europe a quarter of a century after the fall of the Iron Curtain. The outcome of change” is planned as a comprehensive analysis and evaluation of the phenomena, processes and patterns that emerged in the post-communist EU member states.

Read more …

Current Issue

Geographia Polonica (2015) vol. 88, iss. 2

Articles

Timberline in the Carpathians: An overview

Barbara Czajka, Adam Łajczak, Ryszard J. Kaczka, Paweł Nicia

Geographia Polonica (2015) vol. 88, iss. 2, pp. 7-34 | Full text
doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.7163/GPol.0013

Further information

Abstract:

In nature, division lines are delineated where multiple important environmental features change. These division lines may be singled out at the intersection of two geosystems (Balon 2000) where the functional uniformity of the geosystems located on both sides are preserved (Forman & Gordon 1986; Cadenasso et al. 2003). A significant environmental boundary is the upper forest boundary (timberline), which separates different vegetation zones: (1) forest from non-forest (Piękoś-Mirkowa & Mirek 1996); climatic zones (2) cool from verycool (Hess 1965); geoecological zones (3) periglacial from temperate forest system (Kotarba 1996). A timberline is a sensitive ecosystem therefore is a good indicator of changes occurring in the environment. There are, however, multiple elements which affect the timberline. This ecotone has also been widely analysed in local, regional, and even monographic studies of numerous massifs. It is necessary to present and organise the great amount of information in order to aid research on the timberline in the Carpathians.

Keywords: boundaries in the mountain environment, timberline, Carpathians

Barbara Czajka, Faculty of Earth Sciences University of Silesia in Katowice Będzińska 60, 41 -200 Sosnowiec: Poland
Adam Łajczak, Institute of Geography Pedagogical University of Krakow Podchorążych 2, 30 -084 Krakow: Poland
Ryszard J. Kaczka, Faculty of Earth Sciences University of Silesia in Katowice Będzińska 60, 41 -200 Sosnowiec: Poland
Paweł Nicia, Department of Soil Science and Soil Protection University of Agriculture in Krakow Mickiewicza 21, 31 -120 Krakow: Poland

Geographical characteristics of the timberline in the Carpathians

Barbara Czajka, Adam Łajczak, Ryszard J. Kaczka

Geographia Polonica (2015) vol. 88, iss. 2, pp. 35-54 | Full text
doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.7163/GPol.0014

Further information

Abstract:

The pattern of timberline distribution on mountain ranges world-wide is related to global factors. The basic factor is temperature and the amount of radiation, which falls with increasing distance from the equator. Additionally, this basic relationship is overlaid by the specific features of the type of climate on the massif (degree of continentality or oceanity) and the mass-elevation effect. In the Carpathians, the mass elevation effect seems to have bigger impact on the location of timberline (R2 = 0.71, p = 0.00) than their latitudinal location (R2 = 0.56, p = 0.00). The timberline altitude changes by 70 m a.s.l. (±20 m) with each degree of latitude. The influence of the type of the climate is complex and it is not clearly visible due to past and recent human impact.

Keywords: timberline, global factors, latitude influence, mass-elevation effect, the Carpathians

Barbara Czajka, Faculty of Earth Sciences University of Silesia in Katowice Będzińska 60, 41 -200 Sosnowiec: Poland
Adam Łajczak, Institute of Geography Pedagogical University of Krakow Podchorążych 2, 30 -084 Krakow: Poland
Ryszard J. Kaczka, Faculty of Earth Sciences University of Silesia in Katowice Będzińska 60, 41 -200 Sosnowiec: Poland

Controlling factors limiting timberline position and shifts in the Sudetes: A review

Vaclav Treml, Piotr Migoń

Geographia Polonica (2015) vol. 88, iss. 2, pp. 55-70 | Full text
doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.7163/GPol.0015

Further information

Abstract:

Three isolated massifs in the Sudetes, Central Europe, are elevated sufficiently high to allow for the development of the treeline ecotone. These are the Karkonosze/Krkonoše in the West Sudetes and Hruby Jeseník and Masyw Śnieżnika/Králický Sněžnik in the East Sudetes. The upper limit of closed tree stands (i.e. timberline) is locatedat c. 1250 m a.s.l. on average in the Krkonoše, but with significant variability spanning more than 500 m. In the East Sudetes the respective elevation is higher, above 1300 m a.s.l., and the variability is smaller. While temperature is the primary factor governing the uppermost tree stands, second-order climatic factors play an important role in shaping treeline ecotone position, particularly wind and snow accumulation patterns. Active surface processes such as debris flows and snow avalanches force the timberline to descend and account for its locally very irregular course. There is a history of long-term human impact on the position of the timberline, with its peak in the 17-19th centuries when high-mountain meadows were extensively used for grazing and haymaking. In the last century the overall trend of timberline ascent associated with abandonment of agricultural land and temperature rise has been interrupted by the episode of catastrophic forest decline due to air pollution.

Keywords: treeline ecotone, Karkonosze, Hrubý Jeseník, Masyw Śnieżnika, mountain ecology

Vaclav Treml, Department of Physical Geography and Geoecology Charles University in Prague Albertov 6, CZ-128 43 Prague: Czech Republic
Piotr Migoń, Institute of Geography and Regional Development University of Wrocław pl. Uniwersytecki 1, 50-137 Wrocław: Poland

The recent timberline changes in the Tatra Mountains: A case study of the Mengusovská Valley (Slovakia) and the Rybi Potok Valley (Poland)

Ryszard J. Kaczka, Michał Lempa, Barbara Czajka, Karolina Janecka, Zofia Rączkowska, Juraj Hreško, Gabriel Bugár

Geographia Polonica (2015) vol. 88, iss. 2, pp. 71-83 | Full text
doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.7163/GPol.0016

Further information

Abstract:

A comparison was done of the timberline course from the mid-20th and beginning of 21st century, in Mengusovská Valley (Slovakia) and Rybi Potok Valley (Poland). These are two valleys in the High Tatra Mts. Aerial photo sand satellite images were used to assess the changes of the timberline in the two valleys. The course of the timberline ecotone in both valleys is similar. In both valleys, the stable timberline section is almost half of the total timberline length. In both valleys there has been an increase in the elevation of the timberline (on average by 10 m in the Mengusovská Valley and 15 m in the Rybi Potok Valley), and free spaces have been increasingly closing up. The progressive changes of the timberline are mainly due to the limit placed on human economic activity, and to climate warming. Inactive avalanche paths have led to an enlargement of the forest area in both valleys. The reduction of avalanche activity is the direct result of climate warming in the Tatra Mts. and from the decrease in the amount of snow in winters.

Keywords: snow avalanches, Carpathians, Tatra Mountains, photointerpretation, reafforestation, timberline ecotone

Ryszard J. Kaczka, Faculty of Earth Sciences University of Silesia in Katowice Będzińska 60, 41 -200 Sosnowiec: Poland
Michał Lempa, Faculty of Earth Sciences University of Silesia in Katowice Będzińska 60, 41-200 Sosnowiec: Poland
Barbara Czajka, Faculty of Earth Sciences University of Silesia in Katowice Będzińska 60, 41 -200 Sosnowiec: Poland
Karolina Janecka, Faculty of Earth Sciences University of Silesia in Katowice Będzińska 60, 41-200 Sosnowiec: Poland
Zofia Rączkowska [raczk@zg.pan.krakow.pl], Institute of Geography and Spatial Organization Polish Academy of Sciences, 31-018 Krakow, Sw. Jana 22, Poland
Juraj Hreško, Department of Ecology and Environmentalistics Faculty of Natural Sciences Constantine the Philosopher University in Nitra
Gabriel Bugár, Department of Ecology and Environmentalistics Faculty of Natural Sciences Constantine the Philosopher University in Nitra

The dynamics of the timberline ecotone on the asymmetric ridge of the Babia Góra Massif, Western Carpathians

Barbara Czajka, Adam Łajczak, Ryszard J. Kaczka

Geographia Polonica (2015) vol. 88, iss. 2, pp. 85-102 | Full text
doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.7163/GPol.0017

Further information

Abstract:

Timberline ecotone (TE) generally developed because the temperatures in the environment were too low. There are other overlapping biotic and abiotic factors which affect the TE. The main aim of this work was to determine how the asymmetry of Babia Góra’s ridge influences the location and characteristics of the timberline ecotone nowadays, and how the ridge influenced the timberline ecotone in the mid-20th century. The asymmetry of environmental conditions means the timberline has formed in two extreme environments: on the sunny and gentle southern slope (40% of the timberline length) and on the cold, humid, steep northern slope (another 40% of the timberline length). The southern slope of the ridge shows a progressive timberline length of 86%. In turn, 81% of the timberline on the northern slope is in a stable ecotone.

Keywords: Babia Góra Mt., geomorphometry, ridge asymmetry, timberline shift

Barbara Czajka, Faculty of Earth Sciences University of Silesia in Katowice Będzińska 60, 41 -200 Sosnowiec: Poland
Adam Łajczak, Institute of Geography Pedagogical University of Krakow Podchorążych 2, 30 -084 Krakow: Poland
Ryszard J. Kaczka, Faculty of Earth Sciences University of Silesia in Katowice Będzińska 60, 41 -200 Sosnowiec: Poland

Structure of the forest ecotone in the Babia Góra Massif, Western Carpathians

Jerzy Szwagrzyk

Geographia Polonica (2015) vol. 88, iss. 2, pp. 103-113 | Full text
doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.7163/GPol.0018

Further information

Abstract:

The structure of forest stands and tree architecture at the forest ecotone were analysed at the Alpine timberline zone of the Babia Góra massif of the Western Carpathians. Tree stand and tree characteristics displayed large differences in various locations. On the north slope of the massif, trees at the timberline grow relatively tall and slender, and have narrow crowns. Trees at the timberline on the south-west facing slopes of the massif, at higher elevations, are shorter, with lower slenderness indices and relatively broader crowns. These results suggest, that different environmental factors play major roles in shaping the structure of the timberline in various elevations and various exposures.

Keywords: Alpine timberline, subalpine spruce forests, tree architecture

Jerzy Szwagrzyk, Institute of Forest Ecology and Silviculture University of Agriculture in Krakow Al. 29 listopada 46, 31-425 Krakow: Poland

Economic use of the Babia Góra Massif and the assessment of anthropogenic changes in the course of the timberline

Adam Łajczak, Tomasz Lamorski

Geographia Polonica (2015) vol. 88, iss. 2, pp. 115-138 | Full text
doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.7163/GPol.0019

Further information

Abstract:

In Poland’s Babia Góra Massif (the most elevated ridge in the Western Flysch Carpathians), and in the surrounding valleys, various kinds of economic use of natural resources have been engaged in the last 600 years or more. However, the most major changes in the natural environment here have taken place under the influence of grazing and forestry. Some such economic uses already represent forms of human activity that are now history, their cessation being the prerequisite for a regeneration of vegetation that is now ongoing. One of the most visible effects of past grazing is a lowered timberline first and foremost coinciding with the more accessible southern slope of the massif. In turn, on a small part of the steep northern slope degraded by grazing, avalanches have become active, along with debris flows of earlier times, both of which also served to fragment forest. Protection of the Babia Góra Massif has brought the end to grazing referred to, and this has allowed for the progressive return of the timberline to its previous position. Overall, the work described here is based on information from the literature, unpublished studies and maps dating back over the last 400 years.

Keywords: economic use of mountains, grazing, forestry, timberline, Babia Góra Mt., Poland, flysch Western Carpathians

Adam Łajczak, Institute of Geography Pedagogical University of Krakow Podchorążych 2, 30 -084 Krakow: Poland
Tomasz Lamorski, Babiogórski National Park 34-223 Zawoja 1403: Poland

The diversity of soils of the upper forest line, transition, and mountain pine zones in the Babia Góra Massif

Paweł Nicia, Paweł Zadrożny, Barbara Czajka

Geographia Polonica (2015) vol. 88, iss. 2, pp. 139-145 | Full text
doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.7163/GPol.0020

Further information

Abstract:

The upper forest line transition zone up to the mountain pine zone on the southern slopes of Babia Góra, has diversified phytosociology and soils. The development and diversity of the upper forest soils are affected by morphogenetic processes, physiographic conditions, vegetation, and anthropogenic factors which in the past included sheep grazing. An analysis conducted on the morphological and chemical soil properties in the transects covering the upper forest line, transition, and mountain pine zone on the southern slopes of Babia Góra revealed considerable diversification characterising these soils within the individual altitude zones. A substantial changeability in the contents of the analysed components in the investigated soils is characteristic for mountain soils developed in the areas with great intensity of slope phenomena and processes.

Keywords: Babia Góra Mt, soils, upper forest line

Paweł Nicia, Department of Soil Science and Soil Protection University of Agriculture in Krakow Mickiewicza 21, 31 -120 Krakow: Poland
Paweł Zadrożny, Department of Soil Science and Soil Protection University of Agriculture in Krakow Mickiewicza 21, 31-120 Krakow: Poland
Barbara Czajka, Faculty of Earth Sciences University of Silesia in Katowice Będzińska 60, 41 -200 Sosnowiec: Poland

The influence of snow avalanches on the timberline in the Babia Góra Massif, Western Carpathians

Barbara Czajka, Adam Łajczak, Ryszard J. Kaczka

Geographia Polonica (2015) vol. 88, iss. 2, pp. 147-161 | Full text
doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.7163/GPol.0021

Further information

Abstract:

Avalanches are one of the most important abiotic factors influencing the timberline on a worldwide scale. In the case of Babia Góra, avalanches are found to affect more than ¹⁄³ of the length of the timberline, locally lowering it by as much as 350 m in distance. The timberline under the influence of avalanche processes is associated with steep slopes (>30°), with 90% of this being located on the massif’s northern slope. In the long run (1964-2009), around the whole massif the timberline shows a high degree of stability along 79% of its length. It proved possible to reconstruct avalanche events along the largest avalanche path in the examined massif, the Szeroki Żleb gully. Nine such events are seen to have occurred over the past 120 years, with seven of these characterising the last 50 years. The avalanche(s) occurring in winter 1975/1976 had the greatest impact on the timberline in the Szeroki Żleb gully over the examined period.

Keywords: timberline, snow avalanche, Babia Góra Mountain, Norway spruce, image interpretation, dendrogeomorphology

Barbara Czajka, Faculty of Earth Sciences University of Silesia in Katowice Będzińska 60, 41 -200 Sosnowiec: Poland
Adam Łajczak, Institute of Geography Pedagogical University of Krakow Podchorążych 2, 30 -084 Krakow: Poland
Ryszard J. Kaczka, Faculty of Earth Sciences University of Silesia in Katowice Będzińska 60, 41 -200 Sosnowiec: Poland

The tree-ring growth responses to climate in the timberline ecotone of Babia Góra Mountain

Ryszard J. Kaczka, Barbara Czajka, Adam Łajczak

Geographia Polonica (2015) vol. 88, iss. 2, pp. 163-176 | Full text
doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.7163/GPol.0022

Further information

Abstract:

The growth/climate response of Norway spruce in the timberline ecotone of Babia Góra Mountain was examined. Based on a pool of 708 trees from 10 sites, the influence of age, exposure, and method of computing chronology, was assessed. Gridded data and 12 instrumental series were used to study the spatiotemporal relationship of the tree growth and climate. Temperature mainly controls the growth of the Norway spruce in the timberline ecotone at Babia Góra Mountain. The most important factors were the June and July temperatures (r = 0.57) and of the entire growing season April-September (r = 0.52). The precipitation of late winter (March and correspondingly the January-March season) had a positive influence on the tree growth. The previously reported negative correlation with the summer precipitation was found but it was less important. The mature trees growing on the northern slope showed a response to the summer temperature in a stronger manner than all the other groups. The low-frequency SPL chronologies (detrended using the cubic smoothing splines method) performed better than the RCS (regional curve standardisation) of the high-frequency SPL. A strong correlation was found with Obidowa, the nearest located instrumental data (a distance of 35 km), and the Hala Gąsienicowa, the station located at a similar elevation a.s.l. (1508 m a.s.l.), but also with the Krakow located farther away and at a lower elevation (237 m a.s.l.). The TRW/temperature correlation was temporally most stable in the case of Zakopane.

Keywords: Babia Góra, Carpathians, climate, dendrochronology, Norway spruce, tree-rings

Ryszard J. Kaczka, Faculty of Earth Sciences University of Silesia in Katowice Będzińska 60, 41 -200 Sosnowiec: Poland
Barbara Czajka, Faculty of Earth Sciences University of Silesia in Katowice Będzińska 60, 41 -200 Sosnowiec: Poland
Adam Łajczak, Institute of Geography Pedagogical University of Krakow Podchorążych 2, 30 -084 Krakow: Poland

The timberline as result of the interactions among forest, abiotic environment and human activity in the Babia Góra Mt., Western Carpathians

Ryszard J. Kaczka, Barbara Czajka, Adam Łajczak, Jerzy Szwagrzyk, Paweł Nicia

Geographia Polonica (2015) vol. 88, iss. 2, pp. 177-191 | Full text
doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.7163/GPol.0023

Further information

Abstract:

The character and main natural and anthropogenic factors driving the timberline on the Babia Góra Mt. was discussed. The model of Holtmeier (2009) was modified to describe the functioning of the local timberline. Originating in a geological structure, the asymmetric shape of the ridge of the Babia Góra Mt. created consequences for most of the components of the environment of the timberline. This main stationary factor influence all the others including the differences of local climate, soil development and human activity. The long history of direct impact of land use, grazing and logging and recent indirect influences (air pollution and climate warming) control the present character of the timberline.

Keywords: timberline, Carpathians, the Babia Góra Mt., grazing, spatial and temporal dynamics of timberline

Ryszard J. Kaczka, Faculty of Earth Sciences University of Silesia in Katowice Będzińska 60, 41 -200 Sosnowiec: Poland
Barbara Czajka, Faculty of Earth Sciences University of Silesia in Katowice Będzińska 60, 41 -200 Sosnowiec: Poland
Adam Łajczak, Institute of Geography Pedagogical University of Krakow Podchorążych 2, 30 -084 Krakow: Poland
Jerzy Szwagrzyk, Institute of Forest Ecology and Silviculture University of Agriculture in Krakow Al. 29 listopada 46, 31-425 Krakow: Poland
Paweł Nicia, Department of Soil Science and Soil Protection University of Agriculture in Krakow Mickiewicza 21, 31 -120 Krakow: Poland

Varia

The Pyramid – The highest research station in the world

Ryszard J. Kaczka

Geographia Polonica (2015) vol. 88, iss. 2, pp. 193-196 | Full text

Further information

Keywords:

Ryszard J. Kaczka, Faculty of Earth Sciences University of Silesia in Katowice Będzińska 60, 41 -200 Sosnowiec: Poland

Cities on Volcanoes 8 Conference, Yogyakarta, Indonesia, 9-13 September 2014

Adam Łajczak

Geographia Polonica (2015) vol. 88, iss. 2, pp. 197-199 | Full text

Further information

Keywords:

Adam Łajczak, Institute of Geography Pedagogical University of Krakow Podchorążych 2, 30 -084 Krakow: Poland

The timberline in the Azau Valley in the central Caucasus Mountains in the context of landforms and the geomorphological processes modelling the area

Adam Łajczak, Barbara Czajka

Geographia Polonica (2015) vol. 88, iss. 2, pp. 201-203 | Full text
doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.7163/GPol.0024

Further information

Abstract:

This brief study depicts the Azau Valley in the central Caucasus Mountains in the context of landforms and the geomorphological processes modelling the area. The attached Plate shows the location of timberline and the distribution and extent of landforms of different origin.

Keywords: the Azau Valley, central Caucasus Mountains, timberline, digital map

Adam Łajczak, Institute of Geography Pedagogical University of Krakow Podchorążych 2, 30 -084 Krakow: Poland
Barbara Czajka, Faculty of Earth Sciences University of Silesia in Katowice Będzińska 60, 41 -200 Sosnowiec: Poland

Poland on maps

Digital geomorphological map of Poland

Zofia Rączkowska, Zbigniew Zwoliński

Geographia Polonica (2015) vol. 88, iss. 2, pp. 205-210 | Full text
doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.7163/GPol.0025

Further information

Abstract:

The paper presents the Digital Geomorphological Map of Poland (DGM) on which work started in 2013. Background is provided on the history of geomorphological mapping and the digital adaptation of analogue geomorphological maps. The legend (key symbols) of the DGM and the construction of its database are introduced. The test sheets prepared on the basis of the DGM assumptions are demonstrated.

Keywords: digital geomorphological maps, legend, test sheets, Poland

Zofia Rączkowska [raczk@zg.pan.krakow.pl], Institute of Geography and Spatial Organization Polish Academy of Sciences, 31-018 Krakow, Sw. Jana 22, Poland
Zbigniew Zwoliński, Institute of Geoecology and Geoinformation Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań Dzięgielowa 27, 61-680 Poznań: Poland