Geographia Polonica (2018) vol. 91, iss. 2


Physico-geographical mesoregions of Poland: Verification and adjustment of boundaries on the basis of contemporary spatial data

Jerzy Solon, Jan Borzyszkowski, Małgorzata Bidłasik, Andrzej Richling, Krzysztof Badora, Jarosław Balon, Teresa Brzezińska-Wójcik, Łukasz Chabudziński, Radosław Dobrowolski, Izabela Grzegorczyk, Miłosz Jodłowski, Mariusz Kistowski, Kot Rafał, Paweł Krąż, Jerzy Lechnio, Andrzej Macias, Anna Majchrowska, Ewa Malinowska, Piotr Migoń, Urszula Myga-Piątek, Jerzy Nita, Elżbieta Papińska, Jan Rodzik, Małgorzata Strzyż, Sławomir Terpiłowski, Wiesław Ziaja

Geographia Polonica (2018) vol. 91, iss. 2, pp. 143-170 | Full text

Further information


The programme of identification, cataloguing and evaluation of Polish landscapes, part of the implementation of the European Landscape Convention, has caused an increase in interest in physico-geographical regionalisation over recent years. The commonly accepted regionalisation of Poland developed by J. Kondracki (Kondracki & Richling 1994) is sufficient for work at an overview scale (e.g. 1:500,000), whereas its spatial accuracy is too low to make use of it for the purpose of Polish landscape cataloguing. The aim of this article is to present a more up-to-date and detailed division of Poland into mesoregions, adjusted to the 1:50,000 scale. In comparison with older work, the number of mesoregions has increased from 316 to 344. In many cases, somefar-reaching changes in meso- and macroregions were made. Nevertheless, in most cases the previous system of units was maintained, with more detailed adjustment of boundaries based on the latest geological andgeomorphological data and the use of GIS tools for the DEM analysis. The division presented here is a creatively developing new work aligning the proposals of the majority of Polish researchers. At the same time, it is a regionalisation maintaining the idea of the work developed by J. Kondracki as well as his theoretical assumptions and the criteria used to distinguish units, which makes it a logical continuation of his regional division.

Keywords: regionalisation, spatial units, boundaries of regions, Poland

Jerzy Solon [], Institute of Geography and Spatial Organization Polish Academy of Sciences, 00-818 Warsaw, Twarda 51/55, Poland
Andrzej Richling, Warsaw University
Piotr Migoń, Institute of Geography and Regional Development University of Wrocław pl. Uniwersytecki 1, 50-137 Wrocław: Poland
Urszula Myga-Piątek, University of Silesia Faculty of Earth Sciences Będzińska 60, 41-200 Sosnowiec: Poland
Jerzy Nita, University of Silesia Faculty of Earth Sciences Będzińska 60, 41-200 Sosnowiec: Poland

Land use changes and their catchment-scale environmental impact in the Polish Western Carpathians during transition from centrally planned to free-market economics

Anna Bucała-Hrabia

Geographia Polonica (2018) vol. 91, iss. 2, pp. 171-196 | Full text

Further information


Land use and land cover changes (LULC) and their impact on potential soil erosion, road density as transfer routes of material and water to channels as well as channel level changes were studied in three catchments (~20 km2 each) in the central part of the Polish Western Carpathians in 1975-2015. It was hypothesised that short-term LULC changes during transition from a centrally planned to a free-market economy are sufficient to modify selected elements of the environment and that these changes can be identified in a measurable way.The analysis of aerial photographs and socio-economic data indicates that during the investigated period, the forest area increased by 20-27%, with a continuous decrease of cultivated land by 89-93% in the three catchments. LULC changes were accompanied by continuous population density growth by 29-50% and a decreaseof the population dependent only on agriculture to less than 5%. Analyses confirmed the hypothesis that the environment was significantly modified due to the LULC changes. Abandonment of cultivated land, forest succession and a decrease in used road density, have resulted in lower efficiency of slope wash and sediment transport within the 4th-order catchments. This has led to an interruption of aggradation and initiated channel deepening by approximately 1 cm∙year-1 after the introduction of a free-market economy in 1989.

Keywords: LULC, human impact, socio-economic transformation, catchment, Carpathians

Pasture landscape durability in the Beskid Mountains (Western Carpathians, Poland)

Michał Sobala

Geographia Polonica (2018) vol. 91, iss. 2, pp. 197-215 | Full text

Further information


The agricultural abandonment and reforestation taking place over the last few decades in the Carpathians has led to accelerated transformation of pasture landscape. The trajectories of pasture landscape changes, the factors threatening and supporting the pastures’ traditional use have been established on the basis of archival and contemporary cartographic materials, historical scientific works and archival photographs. An attempt has also been made to assess pasture landscape durability. The major part of the former pasture landscapehas evolved into forest or settlement landscapes. The pasture landscape durability will only be possible if the operations supporting the traditional mountain grazing are continued.

Keywords: pasture landscape durability, pasture landscape, mountain land management, agricultural abandonment, mountain grazing, rangeland pastures, rangeland management • Western Carpathian Mountains • Silesian and Żywiec Beskids

Michał Sobala [], Faculty of Earth Sciences University of Silesia Będzińska 60, 41-200 Sosnowiec: Poland

Differentiation of vertical limit of forest at the Babia Góra Mt., the Western Carpathian Mountains

Adam Łajczak, Barbara Spyt

Geographia Polonica (2018) vol. 91, iss. 2, pp. 217-241 | Full text

Further information


The work contains quantitative analysis of differentiation of altitudinal position and sinuosity of two lines determining the course of forest limit, i.e. timberline and treeline within Babia Góra Mt. (1725 m a.s.l.) homoclinal flysch ridge (the Western Carpathians). The course of the empiric timberline was delimited basing on aerial photographs with details from spatial data of Aerial Laser Scanning conducted in 2012. On the N slope, the course of timberline is exclusively conditioned by natural factors, whereas on the S slope this line was shifted downwards as a result of sheep and cattle grazing (however it has shown progression for the last 80 years).In the course of theoretical treeline conditioned by macrotopography and local climate, the mass-elevation effect is visible, and on the N slope, additionally, a sub-summit downward shift (the Diablak effect) occurs.The sequence of natural factors, according to their positive or negative influence on timberline and treeline courses was determined.

Keywords: timberline, treeline, mass-elevation effect, homoclinal flysch ridge, climatic asymmetry, snow avalanches, Babia Góra Mt., Western Carpathians

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

Effect of the north Atlantic oscillation on water level fluctuations in lakes of northern Poland

Dariusz Wrzesiński, Mariusz Ptak, Katarzyna Plewa

Geographia Polonica (2018) vol. 91, iss. 2, pp. 243-259 | Full text

Further information


The paper presents an analysis of correlations between water levels in Polish lakes and the rate of the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) in the years 1976-2010. The detailed analysis of the spatial variability of the effect of NAO on water levels in lakes concerned 19 lakes with statistically uniform hydrometric material. Two matrices were obtained for each of the lakes, composed of 156 coefficients of correlation calculated between monthly water stages and monthly and seasonal NAO indices. They provided the basis for performing two variants of classification of lakes by Ward’s method. Four typological classes were distinguished for each variant. It was determined that stronger correlations occur in the case of water stages in lakes with seasonal than those with monthly NAO indices. The strongest effect of NAO on water stages is observed in the winter-spring period. Spatial variability of the effect has been recorded, resulting from the climatic conditions of a given region. Lakes located in the south-western part of the studied area constitute an evidently separate group. In the negative phase of NAO, they are distinguished by higher water stages in the winter-spring period. This maybe associated with more frequent thaws during winters, and increased supply to lakes in the period.

Keywords: teleconnections, water levels, lakes, NAO

Dariusz Wrzesiński, Department of Hydrology and Water Management Adam Mickiewicz University Krygowskiego 10, 61-680 Poznań: Poland
Mariusz Ptak [], Department of Hydrology and Water Management Adam Mickiewicz University Krygowskiego 10, 61-680 Poznań: Poland
Katarzyna Plewa, Department of Hydrology and Water Management Adam Mickiewicz University Krygowskiego 10, 61-680 Poznań: Poland