Spatiotemporal changes of land use patterns in high mountain areas of Northeast Turkey: a case study in Macka


ENVIRONMENTAL MONITORING AND ASSESSMENT, vol.187, no.8, 2015 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier


High mountain forests (HMFs) have an important significance in forest ecosystems, but the benefits from such ecosystems have been compromised in recent years. In Turkey, HMFs constitute significant portions of Turkish forests because they cover 4 % of Turkey; 15 % of all Turkish forest areas are HMFs. The Eastern Black Sea region has a particular importance for HMFs due to its biological diversity and the rich presence of endemic species. This study analyzes the changes in spatial and temporal patterns of forest cover in HMF from 1973 to 2008 in the town of Macka, which is located at the center of the Eastern Black Sea region of Turkey. The spatial and temporal change patterns of land use are quantified by interpreting spatial data. Remote sensing (RS), geographical information system (GIS), and a spatial pattern analysis program for categorical maps (FRAGSTATS) have been used for data collection, analysis, and presentation. The results showed that the HMF areas had biphasic growth from 1973 to 2008. Despite a net increase of 200.6 ha in forested areas between 1984 and 2008, there was an overall decrease from 1973 to 2008. The annual percentage of forestation for the forest areas within the study period was 0.04 % in Macka. The amount of aggregated forest area fragments rose from 388 in 1973 to 711 in 2008. The increase in the HMF of Macka can be explained to some extent by the change in the demographic structure of Macka and its plateaus, which contributed to changes in the daily life of the population of Macka and its villages, such as changes in annual incomes, their lifestyles, decrease in transhumance and stockbreeding, decrease in the time of dwelling on the plateaus, and changes in the traditional architectural style.