Geographia Polonica (2002) vol. 75, iss. 1

Land use changes during the 19th and 20th century. The case of the Odra River catchment area

Elżbieta Bielecka, Andrzej Ciołkosz

Geographia Polonica (2002) vol. 75, iss. 1, pp. 67-83 | Full text

Abstract

The results of an investigation of land use in the Odra River catchment in various historical periods have been presented. Analysis of monographs and archival cartographic material points to the area of the Odra Valley having been managed by humankind since around the end of the first millennium. It was in this period that settled lands developed, and around them agriculture. Colonisation of the area and the spread of agriculture has been achieved at the expense of forests, such that, in the middle of the 18'h century these occupied only about 30% of the area. This situation remained almost unchanged till the end of the 19'" century. Analysis of land use based on informa-tion obtained from historical maps and satellite images suggests that the distribution of the six main types of land use (forests, arable lands, meadows, built-up areas, waters and marshes), in the Odra River catchment have not undergone major change. This confirms the supposition that land use in the area has an exceptionally stable configuration.

Keywords: Odra River catchment, Sudety Mts., Silesian Lowland, flooding, topographical maps, satellite images, land use changes

Elżbieta Bielecka, Institute of Geodesy and Cartography Jasna 2/4, 00-950 Warszawa, Poland
Andrzej Ciołkosz, Institute of Geodesy and Cartography Jasna 2/4, 00-950 Warszawa, Poland