Andrzej Affek

Articles

The agricultural accessibility of the Beskid Mountains

Zofia Jabs, Andrzej Affek

Przegląd Geograficzny (2019) tom 91, zeszyt 2, pp. 97-111 | Full text
doi: https://doi.org/10.7163/PrzG.2019.2.6

Further information

Abstract: Spatial accessibility is usually understood in relation to the possibility of a specific location being reached from another location (Guzik, 2014). It is one of the main factors affecting land use and land-use changes (Hansen, 1959; Prishchepov et al., 2013) in relation to which the greatest variation is to be observed in mountainous areas (Jobe & White, 2009). The aim of the study detailed here was thus to identify variation in the spatial accessibility of mountainous areas in terms of their being used in agriculture. The problem of agricultural accessibility is here exemplified by three mesoregions of the Polish Carpathians, i.e. the Bieszczady Mts., Low Beskid Mts. and Sanok-Turka Mts. These are all areas in which spatial accessibility and landscape structure have changed markedly over the last 70 years. Cost of access in these areas was calculated by assigning resistance values to each distance unit, in relation to land-cover type and slope. To generate an output raster, use was made of a cost-distance algorithm implemented in ArcGIS. The research described here gave rise to a figure presenting the agricultural accessibility of the study area. Very varied accessibility was demonstrated, both in the research area as a whole and between mesoregions. Results obtained were compared with values for currently used arable fields. Areas accessible to agriculture were also identified, and compared with the distribution of arable fields actually in existence.

Keywords: dostępność przestrzenna, użytkowanie ziemi, cost distance, Bieszczady, Beskid Niski, Góry Sanocko-Turczańskie

Andrzej Affek [a.affek@twarda.pan.pl], Institute of Geography and Spatial Organization Polish Academy of Sciences, Twarda 51/55, 00‑818 Warszawa, Poland

Impact of mountain forest management on selected elements of the environment – the current state of knowledge

Andrzej Affek

Przegląd Geograficzny (2019) tom 91, zeszyt 1, pp. 63-81 | Full text
doi: https://doi.org/10.7163/PrzG.2019.1.3

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Abstract: This work should acquaint Polish readers with the current state of knowledge on the impact of that the management of mountain forests exerts on soil and on the circulation of water and matter, including via such phenomena as erosion, sediment transport and flooding. It draws abundantly on foreign review papers on specific issues, at the same time augmenting the theses formulated with findings from most recent works and relating to Polish conditions. This literature review has provided a basis for it to be concluded that: 1) forest management, and above all the associated roads and skid trails, accelerate both water erosion and landslide processes in mountainous areas; 2) the movement of matter along forest roads (by both of the above mechanisms) is usually one to more than two orders of magnitude greater than that occurring on steep forested slopes; 3) unpaved forest roads, skid trails and wood-storage areas are the main sources of sediment in forest areas, while paved roads contribute to accelerated surface runoff; 4) the type and location of roads in mountain forest have a significant impact on the intensity of water erosion and landslides processes, as well as peak flows and resulting flood risk in lower locations; 5) roads and skid trails leading along the slope gradient and directly crossing roads and streams intensify further both erosion and the deposition of sediments into streams; 6) the network of forest roads may contribute by up to several percent to increases in peak flows, as well as the resulting flash floods; 7) in the years immediately following clear-cutting, a two- to four-fold increase in the frequency of large flooding events is to be anticipated; 8) annual streamflow usually increases significantly where at least 20% of the tree basal area in a forest is removed; 9) the return of the hydrological system to its pre-harvest state is extremely slow (lasting up to 80 years); 10) there has recently been no universal confirmation of previously demonstrated associations between streamflow increase in mountain catchments and reductions in plant cover.

Keywords: pozyskanie drewna, góry, przegląd literatury, erozja, wezbrania, transport fluwialny

Andrzej Affek [a.affek@twarda.pan.pl], Institute of Geography and Spatial Organization Polish Academy of Sciences, Twarda 51/55, 00‑818 Warszawa, Poland

Estimating the impact of logging on selected elements of the environment in the eastern part of the Polish Carpathians

Andrzej Affek, Alina Gerlée, Agnieszka Sosnowska, Maria Zachwatowicz

Przegląd Geograficzny (2019) tom 91, zeszyt 1, pp. 83-106 | Full text
doi: https://doi.org/10.7163/PrzG.2019.1.4

Further information

Abstract: Although ground mechanised skidding is an economically efficient method of timber extraction, it brings several negative consequences to the natural environment. According to the literature, out of all the different forest operations, it is timber extraction (skidding) and the associated presence of forest roads and skid trails that contribute most to soil compaction, increased erosion, surface runoff and flash floods (see Affek 2019 for review). The objective of our study was thus to assess the size of environmental impacts of logging in the eastern part of the Polish Carpathians with more accuracy and a broader scope than has been achieved before (the results of the first phase of this work being published in Forest Ecology and Management; Affek et al., 2017). To this end, we took twice as large a sample of forest divisions and calculated the density of forest roads and its links to topography. We also estimated the range of any potential edge effect caused by forest roads, and supplemented our analysis with a description of the methods and intensity of timber harvesting in the study area. Within the 15 Forest Districts analysed (comprising 2639 km2 of forested area), we randomly selected 120 Forest divisions (covering 48 km2 in total) for analysis. We used the national LiDAR dataset of countrywide coverage (point density of 4 per m2) to detect forest roads and skid trails. The total length, mean density, mean and maximum inclination, and mean coverage of forest roads were calculated, while the potential combined edge effect of these was also determined. These data were linked with official forest spatial data regarding forest management practices, forest types, age of stands and planned cuts, as well as relevant policy documents, reports and scientific literature. We demonstrated that the mean density of forest roads in the 120 forest divisions selected is 12.48 km/km², including paved and unpaved roads and skid trails. The estimated density for the eastern part of the Polish Carpathians is in the range 11.43-13.53 km/km² (with 95% probability). The obtained confidence interval was lower by 35% when set against the one derived from the analysis of 60 Forest Districts. The length of the entire road network was an estimated 30166-35706 km, equating to some 4.6-5.4% of the forest area being covered by roads. Maximum road inclination in the sampled forest divisions ranges from 9 to 38°, while about 8% of forest roads lead through slopes of more than 20°. Ground skidding by means of skidders, forwarders and agricultural tractors adapted for logging is the most common method of timber extraction in the Polish Carpathians. The total volume of the harvest in the analysed 15 Forest Districts in 2016 was of a planned 1,230,153 m3, equating to an average harvest of 4.62 m3/ha. The most common types of treatment for the current 10-year periods are: late and early thinning (38.5% of the area), gradual thinning improved (35.6%) and early and late cleaning (7%). We concluded that the LiDAR-assessed density of Carpathian logging roads (including skid trails) is among the highest reported in the literature, which translates into disturbed soil structure over approx. 5% of the entire area analysed. The density of forest roads is not related to slope steepness, but the same density of roads in steep terrain obviously has a far greater impact on erosion and sediment transport than is the case in more gentle terrain. The selective harvesting method used today in the Carpathians requires frequent entry of heavy equipment (skidders, forwarders or tractors) into large forest areas, hence skidding now appears to be a bottleneck for sustainable forest management in the Carpathians. One of the possible solutions leading to a more sustainable management of forest resources in the mountains is thus the replacement of ground skidding with environment-friendly cable cars.

Keywords: drogi leśne, zrywka, LiDAR, erozja, efekt brzegowy, Karpaty Wschodnie

Andrzej Affek [a.affek@twarda.pan.pl], Institute of Geography and Spatial Organization Polish Academy of Sciences, Twarda 51/55, 00‑818 Warszawa, Poland
Maria Zachwatowicz [m.zachwatowicz@uw.edu.pl]