Differences in forest disturbance among land ownership types in Poland during and after socialism


Forest use can increase substantially during periods of societal change, but it is unclear how harvesting rates differ among different landownership types in such times. Our goal here is to quantify the rates and spatial patterns of forest disturbance in private forests, state forests, and a National Park in the Polish Carpathians before and after the collapse of socialism. We analysed a series of classified Landsat TM images (1988–2000) and a landownership map. Our results showed that disturbance peaked in all ownership types in the immediate transition time. However, disturbance rates in private forests were about five times higher than on public lands. The spatial pattern of disturbances was similar across ownership types, but private forests were more fragmented than state and National Park forests. Our study indicates that institutional strength may determine forest use under different ownership types and highlights the multi-scale, nested control of the drivers of land use change.

Journal of Land Use Science, 4(1-2) 73-83
Tobias Kuemmerle
Tobias Kuemmerle
Professor & Head of the Conservation Biogeography Lab