Forest expansion on the boulder fields of the Mt. Łysica massif in the 19th and 20th centuries - analysis of historical sources, archival maps and contemporary aerial photos

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The aim of the research was to assess the rate of forest expansion on the boulder field on the Mt. Łysica massif in the Świętokrzyskie Mountains in the 19th and 20th centuries. In the above-mentioned period, large changes in the forest area took place, caused by deforestation for agriculture, as well as forest succession caused by climate change. Historical sources were used in the research, including archival maps, as well as archival and contemporary photogrammetric materials. Field surveys of the forest range boundaries were also performed, using the tacheometric measurement method and the photogrammetric flight using the UAV.

The boulder fields are a distinctive element of the landscape of the Świętokrzyskie Mountains. They are rock rubble not covered by forest, occurring in the top plateau parts of the Łysogóry and Jeleniowskie ranges, built of quartzite sandstones. They differ from the rubble and rock debris typical of higher mountains, because they occur inside the forested areas with relatively gentle slopes, at a height of approximately 500 – 600 m.a.s.l. The influence of the periglacial climate in the late Pleistocene is most often considered as the main factor that contributed to their formation.

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