Spatiotemporal Changes in Landscape Pattern in Response to Afforestation in Northeastern Turkey: A Case Study of Torul

Kadioullari A. I., Keles S., Baskent E. Z., Gunlu A.

SCOTTISH GEOGRAPHICAL JOURNAL, vol.124, no.4, pp.259-273, 2008 (SSCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 124 Issue: 4
  • Publication Date: 2008
  • Doi Number: 10.1080/14702540802566254
  • Journal Indexes: Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.259-273
  • Karadeniz Technical University Affiliated: Yes


Monitoring and understanding of land use/forest cover dynamics as well as the factors affecting the changes in land use/forest cover are necessary for the sustainable management of natural resources. This study analyzes the spatial and temporal changes in land use and forest cover patterns in a typical mountain forest area in the Torul State Forest Enterprise area of Northeastern Turkey. The investigation evaluates the temporal changes of the spatial structure of forest conditions through the spatial analysis of forest-cover type maps from 1984 and 2005 using GIS and FRAGSTATS. The evidence presented here showed that there were drastic changes in the temporal and spatial dynamics of land use/forest cover, and between 1984 and 2005 there was a net increase of 19.9% in total forested area. Productive forest area increased by 3161 ha, although degraded forest area increased 9216 ha. In examining the changes of crown closure and development stages of the forest ecosystem during the study period, the forest stand area with low crown closures increased. The regenerated area increased because of regeneration activities while the other development stages were left to grow to older development stages in the period. These results regarding the crown closure and development stage show that forest quality has increased, and this is partly due to emigration of the rural population in Torul. In terms of spatial configuration, the landscape structure in Torul, the State Forest Enterprise area, changed substantially over the 21-year study period, resulting in fragmentation of the landscape as indicated by large patch numbers and smaller mean patch sizes, owing to heavy timber subtraction, illegal cutting, and uncontrolled stand treatments.