Spatiotemporal changes of landscape pattern in response to deforestation in Northeastern Turkey: a case study in Rize

Guenlue A., Kadiogullari A. İ., Keles S., Baskent E. Z.

ENVIRONMENTAL MONITORING AND ASSESSMENT, vol.148, pp.127-137, 2009 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier


Recognition and understanding of landscape dynamics as a historical legacy of disturbances are necessary for sustainable management of forest ecosystems. This study analyzes spatial and temporal changes in land use and forest cover patterns in a typical mountain forest area in Rize Forest Enterprise of the Northeastern part of Turkey. The area is investigated by evaluated the temporal changes of spatial structure of forest conditions through spatial analysis of forest cover type maps from 1984 and 2007 using GIS and FRAGSTATS (TM). The quantative evidences presented here showed that there were drastic changes in the temporal and spatial dynamics of land use/forest cover. As an overall change between 1984 and 2007, there was a net decrease of 2.30% in total forested areas. On one hand, productive forest areas decreased 12,506 ha, on the other hand, degraded forest areas increased 14,805 ha. In examining the changes of crown closure and development stages of forest ecosystem during the study period, the forest stand area with medium crown closures increased. Regenerated area increased while the other development stages were left to grow to mature development stages in the period. These results regarding to crown closure and development stage showed that forest quality has increased but total forest areas decreased. This is partially due to out-migration of rural population in Rize and Cayeli towns. In terms of spatial configuration, analysis of the metrics revealed that landscape structure in Study area had changed substantially over the 23-year study period, resulting in fragmentation of the landscape as indicated by the large patch numbers and the smaller mean patch sizes due to heavy timber subtraction, illegal cutting, and uncontrolled stand treatments.