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Forest Disturbances in Polish Tatra Mountains for 1985–2016 in Relation to Topography, Stand Features, and Protection Zone

Department of Geoinformatics, Cartography and Remote Sensing, Chair of Geomatics and Information Systems, Faculty of Geography and Regional Studies, University of Warsaw, 00-927 Warsaw, Poland
Forests 2020, 11(5), 579;
Received: 31 March 2020 / Revised: 11 May 2020 / Accepted: 19 May 2020 / Published: 21 May 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Effects of Disturbance on Forest Dynamics under Climate Changes)
For more than four centuries, the Tatra Mountains were affected by many factors, such as forest and pastoral management, mining and metallurgy, windthrows, snow avalanches, and bark beetle outbreaks. Due to the availability of the long-running Landsat program enabling acquisition of spatially and spectrally consistent information, it is possible to the use these data for forest disturbance analysis. The main aim of this study was to analyze the relationships between the frequency of disturbances detected over the period of 1985–2016 and selected topographic features, such as elevation, exposure, and slope, derived from a digital elevation model (DEM); stand features, such as vegetation community type, age, structure, and degree of naturalness of the stand; and the management protection zone, which was extracted from thematic layers of the Tatra National Park (TNP). Using the normalized difference moisture index (NDMI), we detected forest disturbances in each year and analyzed them in the context of these topographic features, forest stand characteristics, and the management protection zone. We observed that forest stands in the lower montane zone, slopes between 10°–30°, and eastern exposures were primarily affected by disturbances. These consisted of artificially planted spruce stands aged between 51 and 100 years old. View Full-Text
Keywords: changes; GIS; mountains; remote sensing; terrain; stands changes; GIS; mountains; remote sensing; terrain; stands
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Ochtyra, A. Forest Disturbances in Polish Tatra Mountains for 1985–2016 in Relation to Topography, Stand Features, and Protection Zone. Forests 2020, 11, 579.

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