EVALUATION OF LAND COVER CHANGES AND BLACK LOCUST OCCURRENCE IN AGRICULTURAL LANDSCAPE. CASE STUDY: PODOLIE AND ČASTKOVCE CADASTRAL AREAS, SLOVAKIA
This study presents spatial analysis of agricultural landscape changes in the Podolie and Častkovce cadastral areas since 1949. Data for analysis was obtained from historical aerial photographs (from 1949, 1986 and 2006), detailed field mapping and Black locust (Robinia pseudoacacia L.) monitoring. Land cover changes were assessed from the aerial photographs based on the CORINE land cover legend, environmental variables were derived from digital elevation model (DEM) and detailed geological and soil maps. Data was spatially compared and assessed by regression analysis for interpretation of Black locust occurrence. The most significant land cover changes occurred between 1949 and 1986 when agricultural areas were replaced by forest and semi-natural areas. One of the aspects of landscape changes is abandonment of agricultural landscape and occupancy this new transformed surfaces by invasive plant taxons (e. i. Robinia pseudoacacia L.). Black locust occurrence was mainly influenced by landscape management changes and subsequent land cover changes (afforestation from 1949 to 1986), especially in regions of dispersed settlements (Podolské and Korytnianské kopanice) after agricultural collectivisation. Environmental variables had little effect on Black locust expansion in these areas.