Environmental & Socio-economic Studies - the Journal of University of Silesia in Katowice, Poland - is an international, peer-reviewed journal publishing original research papers, review articles and scientific communications concerning the interactions between human activity and the environment in urban and industrial areas, and the functioning of society and nature, both in periods of urban growth and economic development, and in periods of the restructuring of the economy and the development of post-industrial space. The research attention is focused on cities, metropolitan areas and their associated suburban and rural areas, industrial and mining districts, and other areas under human impact.

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  • Relationship between densification and NDVI loss. A study using the Google Earth Engine at local scale

    Celemin Juan Pablo; Arias Maria Eugenia (Sciendo, 2022-09-01)
    Latin American cities are amongst those with the highest rates of urbanization in the world. This process has involved their territorial expansion as well as the densification of some of its neighborhoods, in mainly central areas. This is the case of the city of Santiago del Estero (Argentina) that increased its population by 33% between 1991 and 2010 with the consequent transformations of the local space. In this context, this study analyzes the evolution of vegetated areas and densification of the central area of the city using satellite data. We analyzed two indices: normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) and Urban Index (UI) time-series data, for the 1992–2011 year period, using the Google Earth Engine for processing Landsat 5 TM images. We found that the NDVI showed a decreasing trend in the timelapse under consideration, while the UI performance registered the opposite trend. The mean NDVI decreased from 0.161 (1992) to 0.103 (2011) while the UI mean increased from 0.003 to 0.036 in the same timelapse. Further, the NDVI has a strong negative correlation with UI (R-squared = -0.862). The results are consistent with the census information that recorded an important demographic and housing growth for the entire city in this period.
  • Anthropogenic and natural factors influencing African World Heritage sites

    Dulias Renata (Sciendo, 2022-09-01)
    The article presents anthropogenic and natural factors influencing African World Heritage sites. The analysis was based on the data contained in the Conservation Outlook Assessments for 2020, including all sites on the African continent where natural values are protected, i.e., both natural (38) and mixed sites – natural and cultural (6). The assessment of current and potential threats and effectiveness of protection and management included 57 items, each of which was analyzed concerning all African properties. The results show that the African World Heritage sites are subject to various pressures from human activity and natural factors. The most common current threat is hunting and trapping, found in 33 sites. The spread of invasive (alien) species in 21 areas is second. Common threats (reported in 15-17 sites) include livestock farming and grazing, logging and wood collecting, fires, tourism, mining, and crops. The most frequently mentioned potential threats are mining, oil/gas exploration, construction of dams, and various effects of climate change – droughts, flooding, temperature extremes, and habitat shifting. The effectiveness of protection and management is not satisfactory. There are serious concerns related to law enforcement, sustainable finance, staff capacity, training, and development. Some concerns are directed to monitoring, tourism and visitation management, boundaries, and effectiveness of the management system. Results of a review show that, of all natural and mixed World Heritage sites in Africa for three areas, the conservation outlook is assessed as good, 15 – good with some concerns, 14 – significant concerns, and 12 – critical. In 2020, as many as 11 “in danger” sites were listed in Africa. At that time, there were 17 sites around the World in danger, i.e. as many as 70% of them were in Africa.
  • Societal perception on environmental and socio-economic implications of Tithonia diversifolia (Hemsl.) A. Gray invasion in an Indo-Burma biodiversity hotspot

    Rai Prabhat Kumar; Vanlalruati (Sciendo, 2022-09-01)
    Tithonia diversifolia (Hemsl.) A. Gray is an emerging and little studied plant invader in North East India, an Indo-Burma biodiversity hotspot. Identifying the impacts of its invasiveness in terms of both harmful and economically beneficial facets is required for the formulation and implementation of sustainable management options. An environmental and socio-economic implication survey through the pragmatic questionnaire method is a useful approach to explicitly elucidate the holistic influence of T. diversifolia on ecosystem resilience. The interaction of T. diversifolia with the local people of Mizoram was assessed in this study in terms of its effects on their livelihoods, socio-economic, and ecological factors. Results of the survey in relation to agricultural implications revealed that 42.68% of the respondents opined that the dried litter of T. diversifolia can improve soil fertility. Also, 63.41% people during their interview perceived T. diversifolia as an effective tool to prevent. However, 70.73% of rural people did not consider T. diversifolia to be a good source of livelihood for income generation or socio-economic status. Since, the respondents were not aware of chemical and biological control measures to regulate the spread of invasive alien plant species, physical methods such as slashing (46.34%), burning (13.41%), chopping and burning (29.27%) were widely applied for the control and management of invaded areas of T. diversifolia at selected study sites. Thus, the survey gave a brief idea to the other local people, farmers, and agriculturists of Mizoram to control the invasive spread of T. diversifolia in forestry and agroforestry systems. Also, other Himalayan landscapes infested with T. diversifolia can generate awareness and identify the sustainable strategy for their management to conserve the indigenous biodiversity.
  • The value of air purification and carbon storage ecosystem services of park trees in Warsaw, Poland

    Szkop Zbigniew (Sciendo, 2022-09-01)
    This study assessed, in monetary terms, the ecosystem services provided by trees growing in public parks and garden squares in Warsaw, Poland. It focused on the valuation of two services: air purification (measured as an annual benefit stream in EUR/year) and carbon storage (measured as a fixed value at a given point in time in EUR). The study was conducted using the Avoided Cost Method with i-Tree Eco software. The initial calculations were based on data obtained from 41 selected green spaces in Warsaw. Subsequently, the results were extrapolated to all public parks and garden squares. The findings indicate that the average economic value of the NO2, SO2 and PM2.5 pollution removal ecosystem service provided by trees in Warsaw is around 3 EUR/tree/year. On average, one hectare of a public park in Warsaw provides this service at a value of 408 EUR/ha/year, while one hectare of a garden square provides this service at a value of 347 EUR/ha/year. With regards to the carbon storage ecosystem service, the results showed that the average economic value of this service is around 170 EUR/tree. On average, one hectare of a public park provides this service at a value of 22.4 thousand EUR/ha, and one hectare of a garden square provides this service at an average value of 18.9 thousand EUR/ha. By extrapolating these results, the total value of the air pollution removal ecosystem service provided by trees growing in all public parks and garden squares in Warsaw was estimated to range from 393 to 560 thousand EUR/year. The value of the carbon storage service ranges from 23.3 to 30.2 million EUR.
  • Observed climate trends, perceived impacts and community adaptation practices in Côte d’Ivoire

    Kouassi Jean-Luc; Wandan Narcisse; Mbow Cheikh (Sciendo, 2022-09-01)
    Climate change is a serious threat to local communities in West Africa. This study evaluated climatic trends and the perceptions of farmers to climate change in central Côte d’Ivoire. We surveyed 259 households across three agro-ecological zones. The knowledge of farmers about climate change was compared to observed trends of various climatic parameters from meteorological records (1973-2016). Results from trend analysis and descriptive analysis showed that the minimum, maximum and mean temperatures and rainfall showed a significant upward trend in all ecoregions. The average temperature and amount of rainfall increased by 3.2% (0.89°C) and 166.58% (645.5 mm) respectively over the 44 years. Local farmers perceived an increasing trend in temperature (all respondents) and a decreasing trend in rainfall (91.51%). Most of the respondents identified deforestation (76.83%), natural climate variation (50.97%) and wildfires (31.27%) as the main causes of these climatic disturbances, which induced plant dieback (92.66%), poor crop growth (59.46%) and crop loss (20.46%). The impacts on people and their assets encompassed a decrease in household income (63.71%), demolition of roofs (44..4%) and walls (43.91%) of houses, the scarcity of water points (39.38%) and the emergence of new diseases (30.89%). These climatic disturbances resulted in specific endogenous on-farm and off-farm strategies to adapt to the impacts of observed changes on their livelihoods.
  • Climate change and its impact on urban agriculture in Sub-Saharan Africa: A literature review

    Chari Felix; Ngcamu Bethuel Sibongiseni (Sciendo, 2022-09-01)
    Recent surveys have shown that the global urban population is increasing at an accelerated rate. As a result, the associated increased demand for food items has pushed up the overall cost of living for urban dwellers. To mitigate this increased cost of living urban dwellers increasingly find solace in agricultural activities. This surge in urban agricultural activities comes at a time characterized by long term shifts in temperatures, rainfall patterns and general weather conditions. While many researchers have presented evidence of increased urban agricultural activities, there remains a paucity of integrated literature that summarizes climate change issues on urban agriculture. This research reviewed literature on the influence of climate change on urban agricultural operations in sub-Saharan African cities. A narrative review approach was employed to summarize and synthesize findings and make recommendations for future research. The review employed the key terms ‘urban farming’, ‘urban agriculture’, ‘climate change’, ‘peri-urban agriculture’, and ‘urban agricultural production’ to search relevant literature indexed in databases: Scopus, Directory of Open Access Journals, Web of Science, Google Scholar and Academic Search (EBSCO). The choice of these keywords was informed by the authors’ specialist understanding of urban agriculture and climate change. There is consensus among the reviewed literature that climate change affects urban agriculture from production to processing, storage, and distribution. This study also established that the extent and magnitude of climate change impacts differ from one region to another. Therefore, adaptation and mitigation strategies ought to be context specific and not universally applicable. This is important because Africa is a climatologically diverse continent so that the impact of climate change faced by one sub-Saharan African city may be different from that for other cities in other regions. A framework that simplifies the effects of climate change on urban agriculture-dependent households in sub-Saharan Africa was produced. More specifically, this framework is recommended to those urban farmers and policymakers that are involved in mitigating the consequences of climate change as well as achieving food and nutritional security. The authors also recommend this framework for unpacking the knowledge of the influence of climate change on urban agriculture as well as exposing directions for future research. This work adds to the growing body of knowledge in the domain of climate change on urban agriculture-dependent households.
  • Ecological and coenotic features of the Syrovatka river basin in the Emerald network of the Sumy region, Ukraine

    Tymochko Ihor Ya.; Solomakha Ihor V.; Shevchyk Vasyl L.; Maliarenko Valentyna M.; Solomakha Volodymyr A. (Sciendo, 2022-09-01)
    A number of studies were undertaken in the territory of the “Syrovatka river basin of the Emerald Network of Ukraine (UA0000428 Syrovatka river basin). Based on the data gathered from field work surveys of the area, the characteristics of the habitats (C1.222, C1.224, C1.32, C1.33, C2.33+, С2.34, C3.4, C3.51, D5.2, E1.2, E2.2, E3.4, E5.4, F3.247, F9.1+G1.11, G1.21+G1.41, G1.A1, G1.7, G1.8, G1.A4) are presented according to the area covered and their ecological features. Phytosociological characteristics of habitats were given. As a result of the analysis of the distribution of certain species of sozophytes, a brief description of the status of the identified populations was presented. Populations of vascular plant species protected in Europe (Ostericum palustre, Iris hungarica), Ukraine (Epipactis helleborine, Lilium martagon, Platanthera bifolia), and at the regional level (Carpinus betulus, Campanula persicifolia, Calla palustris, Dryopteris cristata, Inula helenium, Utricularia vulgaris) have been studied in detail. The main threats to the existence of the natural complex of this area, which may appear in the situation of increasing economic impact are drainage and ploughing of floodplains, terracing, and afforestation of meadow-steppe slopes of the ravine. The typological characteristics of artificial and natural forest plantations of the territory were described based on the generalization of details gathered from information on their local management.
  • Organic farms are the fundamental basis for the sustainable foreign economic activities of agrarians in Ukraine

    Ohanisian Alina; Levchenko Nataliia; Shyshkanova Ganna; Abuselidze George; Prykhodko Volodymyr; Banchuk-Petrosova Olena (Sciendo, 2022-06-01)
    The article emphasizes the importance of organic production development in the agricultural sector of the Ukrainian economy and substantiates that one of the important priorities of agribusiness is organic production, which is mainly export-oriented, and therefore is the fundamental basis for the sustainability of the foreign economic activity of its farmers. An increase in organic production, in particular cattle products, is accompanied by additional methane emissions (but lower than those from nonorganic production), while Ukraine, having joined the Global Methane Pledge initiative to reduce methane emissions, has committed to taking measures to reduce its methane footprint and consequently the decision to invest and/or provide government support for development programs should be based on historical analysis using a decoupling approach. The trends of changes in the average annual livestock population, the livestock production volume and dynamics of methane emissions have been studied for the period of 1990-2019. A decoupling analysis has been carried out of the gap between trends of the economic growth rates of the livestock industry and the rates of anthropogenic pressure on the environment. The study demonstrated that the decoupling effect in cattle breeding has changed abruptly from strongly negative to weak decoupling. The dynamics of the export volume of dairy and meat products were analysed for the agribusiness of Ukraine during 2004-2021 and a forecast of changes in production volumes, as well as a forecast for the export volume of milk and beef were made for the period up to 2030.
  • Urbanization and land use change: A study in Vietnam

    Tuan Nguyen Tran (Sciendo, 2022-06-01)
    Land-use change is a human process aimed at transforming the natural landscape and emphasizing the role and function of land for socio-economic activities. However, we do not know how the land transition in Vietnam has been proceeding recently. Thus, this article aims to examine the current urbanization process of land conversion in Vietnam. To explore the current situation and recent change of land use, the author analyzed standardized databases and maps from reports of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment of Vietnam (MoNRE), the General Statistics Office of Vietnam (GSO), and the land cover map of Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA). Research results show that the land transition in Vietnam has been similar to the world trend. The highest land conversion rate occurs in the North Central and Central Coast regions, but conversion of agricultural land for urbanization is mainly in the Red River Delta and Southeast. The study also noted some negative socio-economic impacts of land conversion on the lives of suburban residents.
  • Ageing of rural populations in Eastern Poland

    Kiniorska Iwona; Pytel Sławomir (Sciendo, 2022-06-01)
    A demographic view of the ageing process of a population provides an assessmentof the degree of development of this phenomenon and its dynamics at a given time in a given area, such as an administrative unit, a country or other territory. In this study, the main research aim was to assess the demographic situation of rural areas in Eastern Poland in the context of an ageing population. Changes in both the number of people and the demographic structure of the population living in the region were analysed. The time period of the research covered the years 2008-2020. Statistical data used in the study were derived from the Local Data Bank of Statistics Poland. The assessment of the regional specificity of the processes of demographic changes in rural areas was based on the study of the relationships in the analyzed parameters, with the use of statistical measures defining the range of variability of the examined characteristics. In order to achieve the main aim of the study, a typology of the areas with a disturbed age structure was developed. Four groups of rural areas have been identified (labelled from A to D) which are characterised by varying degrees of advancement of the examined problem in 2020.
  • A phytoindicational assessment of the vegetation of afforestation belts in the Middle Dnipro Region, Ukraine

    Goncharenko Igor V.; Solomakha Igor V.; Shevchyk Vasyl L.; Dvirna Tetyana S.; Tymochko Igor Ya.; Solomakha Volodymyr A. (Sciendo, 2022-06-01)
    We performed a study of the vegetation of afforestation belts in the Middle Dnipro Region of Ukraine. These were planted to protect agricultural land from adverse climatic conditions. The syntaxonomy of these afforestation belts is, so far, embedded in the synanthropic class of Robinietea tree plantations, but over time, these may need another syntaxonomic solution. Based on the data, a phytoindicational assessment of these communities was performed. The ecological features of the vegetation of afforestation belts have been determined by the mutual influence of ecological factors of different origin, and the extent of these impacts. In particular, the climatic conditions and edaphic factors and also the peculiarities of the environment-forming influence of different dominant tree species in the main layers and the age of these plantations, which determines at different stages of sylvestral succession processes. According to our phytoindicational assessment, use of cluster analysis of these biotopes of afforestation belts, proved their considerable similarity taking into account all ecological factors, and the distribution is mainly due to the predominant tree species. As a result of ordination analysis, it was found that the factors that most correlate with the ordinal axes are light regime, soil nitrogen and humidity. Phytocoenoses of afforestation belts are a very specific component of the forest biome in this region, because they have been artificially created.
  • The effects of urbanisation on food security in Africa: An overview and synthesis of the literature

    Ngcamu Bethuel Sibongiseni (Sciendo, 2022-06-01)
    The rapid and unplanned urbanisation in Africa has resulted in unprecedented and turbulent effects which include prolonged drought, massive floods, economic losses, increased food insecurity among small-scale and subsistence farmers and increased vulnerability because of rapid climate change. This has been exacerbated by the irrefutable fact that governments in Africa have been ill-prepared and incompetent to effectively deal with the adverse effects of increased urbanisation. In this light, in the overview of this literature study, the researcher set out to explore the theoretical underpinnings and empirical dimensions of the effects of urbanisation on food security in Africa. The study further captures, analyses, and synthesises the literature on best practice applied by governments in Africa in proactively responding to the effects of urbanisation on food security. Furthermore, patterns on the adverse effects of urbanisation relating to food security are unpacked from scholars, and various solutions investigated. This was achieved by rigorously reviewing eleven empirical and relevant journal which were selected from Google Scholar and ResearchGate. The interesting themes that emerged in this study include poor government interventions and decision-making processes, inadequate or absent land-use planning, and high incompetency levels among urban planners. This has led to environmental degradation and unsustainable food security as the result of prime agricultural land being used for infrastructure or housing developments. Solutions suggested for urban food insecurity include public–private partnerships, the alignment of policies with urban agriculture, participatory and strategic land-use planning, and the empowerment of women.
  • The 2016 Vietnam marine life incident: measures of subjective resilience and livelihood implications for affected small-fishery communities

    Ty Pham Huu; Marçon Raphaël; Bayrak Mucahid Mustafa; Phuong Le Thi Hong (Sciendo, 2022-03-01)
    In April 2016, four provinces of Vietnam were struck by one of the largest manmade environmental incidents in Vietnam. Through a discharge of toxic chemicals by Formosa Ha Tinh Steel Corporation, oceanic waters along Vietnam’s central coast were severely polluted. Consequently, the livelihoods of over 510,000 people living in coastal communities were severely affected by the Formosa Ha Tinh Steel Corporation incident (FHS incident). This study focusses on ex-ante and ex-post differences in livelihoods, and the subjective resilience of small-fishery households affected by the FHS incident in Hải Dương commune, a small coastal community, in central Vietnam. This was done through a qualitative analysis of livelihood strategies and resilience capacities of the affected households. Semi-structured interviews (n = 30), expert interviews (n = 3) and secondary data analysis were conducted from March to May 2018 employing a case study approach. Results show that the level of subjective resilience was strongly affected by a combination of social, financial, and human capitals. The presence, or lack, of these capitals combined with contextual factors influenced the livelihood strategies a household could pursue. Households that were able to pursue a combination of intensifying and diversifying livelihood strategies were most successful in recovering from and adjusting to the environmental incident. Households with restrained access to livelihood capitals were limited to intensifying livelihood strategies, having no real other option than persistence and increased dependence on government subsidies. Lastly, migration as a livelihood strategy and subsequent transformative resilience capacities remained generally low.
  • Main directions of the study of plant invasions in Russia

    Tokhtar Valeriy K.; Vinogradova Yulia K.; Notov Alexander A.; Kurskoy Аndrey Yu.; Danilova Elena S. (Sciendo, 2021-12-01)
    This article is focused on the analysis of major approaches to plant invasion research used by Russian researchers. They fall within three main groups: 1. Conventional approaches to floristic analysis based on the Russian scientific tradition of floristic research, 2. Approaches focused on the study of the fraction of invasive flora, making blacklists and regional Black books, 3. New comprehensive approaches based on a synthesis of methods used in botany, geo-information technology and population genetics. Multivariate statistical methods allow for the visualization of various data, including those on alien species group structures in various regions. They make it possible to identify boundaries of ecological niches occupied by plants in respect to climate-and-environmental or ecological variables. An assessment of current statistical interdependence between alien plant characteristics and scores of factors limiting their dissemination facilitates the making of predictive models of plant invasion. Examples of multivariate statistical methods used in invasion biology were analyzed, along with different approaches to the study of the variability of alien species. Alien and invasive fractions of the flora of the Trans-Siberian Railway were analyzed not by administrative units but by natural biomes. This approach allowed us to assess the correlation between the number of invasive species with different natural-climatic and floristic characteristics of biomes. The publication of "Black Books" of various administrative subjects of Russia according to a unified methodology allowed us to make an inventory of invasive species over the vast territory of the country. The experience gained by Russian researchers may be further used for developing universal approaches to plant invasion research.
  • Alien (invasive) vascular plants in Slovakia – a story of successful plant immigrants

    Májeková Jana; Jarolímek Ivan; Zaliberová Marica; Medvecká Jana (Sciendo, 2021-12-01)
    This article summarises the history of research into alien plants and plant communities in Slovakia (Central Europe). Earlier periods are reviewed briefly with reference to literature sources dealing with those periods more comprehensively. A milestone in the research was the publication of the Inventory of the alien flora of Slovakia in 2012 with a complete list of alien vascular plants. The last ten years are discussed more extensively in the article in four sections devoted to i) newly found alien plants, ii) distribution and habitat relations, iii) plant invasions, iv) citizen science based on the comprehensive excerption of literature sources. A list of 51 newly published alien taxa within the last ten years is also included with information on the year of their first occurrence in the wild in Slovakia.
  • Plant invasions in Ukraine

    Zavialova Liudmyla V.; Protopopova Vira V.; Kucher Oksana O.; Ryff Liubov E.; Shevera Myroslav V. (Sciendo, 2021-12-01)
    We present a comprehensive review of the plant invasions of 42 alien species and their impact on vegetation cover in Ukraine. Among these species, those currently posing the greatest threat to the environment have been identified. The structural features of this group were analyzed. In the life form spectrum the phanerophytes and therophytes are dominant, in the ecological spectrum the mesophytes are dominant, and kenophytes predominate at the time of immigration. Among the examined species, plants of North American origin predominate, agriophytes prevail by their degree of naturalization, and ergasiophytes are predominant by their way of entry. The participation of invasive species in natural and anthropogenic plant communities and biotopes was analyzed. These species are a stable component of grasses, scrub and forest habitats. Most of these invasive plants (33 species) are observed in anthropogenic habitats (I). Slightly fewer species of the studied group prefer habitat types E (25), F and G (22 each), although the largest invasions are observed exactly in these biotopes. Invasive species are characterized by eurytopicity. Four species have the greatest ecological plasticity, each of these is found in six types of habitats: Ailanthus altissima (B, F, G, I, J, H), Amaranthus retroflexus (C, E, F, G, I, J), Opuntia humifusa (B, E, F, G, H, I) and Xanthium albinum (B, C, E, F, G, I). Erigeron canadensis is found in five habitat types (C, E, F, G, I). The studied group is characterized by an insignificant regional specificity of the species composition, high invasive potential and stability of population reproduction.
  • The impact of revitalization on the evolution of urban space on former iron and steel works areas in Ruhr region (Germany)

    Chmielewska Marta; Otto Marius (Sciendo, 2013-03-01)
    The aim of the paper was to consider the extent of the impact of revitalization on the evolution of post-industrial sites, which manifests itself in morphological and functional changes of urban space. Research was performed on three former iron and steel works areas located in the Ruhr region in Germany: one of the Thyssen's ironworks in Duisburg - Meiderich, the area of steelworks complex Gute-Hoffnungs-Hütte in Oberhausen and the area of the iron and steel works Phönix in Dortmund - Hörde. Methods were applied specific to urban morphology. For each object of study a comparative analysis of the town plan was carried out. Town plans were compared before and after the revitalization process and special attention was paid to land use. This allowed us to observe morphological and functional changes which occurred as a result of the revitalization of the study areas. The research showed that the revitalization of post-industrial space may be conducted in many different directions but irrespective of that it has a huge impact on the evolution of urban space in both a morphological and a functional way. The extent to which revitalization affects morphological and functional structure of urban space depends on the future plan for the spatial development of the site and its attitude to its post-industrial heritage.
  • Human activity and aeolian relief of Starczynów “Desert”, Poland

    Pełka-Gościniak Jolanta (Sciendo, 2013-09-01)
    Starczynów „Desert” is located in the eastern part of the Silesian Upland (southern Poland) and makes a compact area with the occurrence of aeolian sands, which till the 1960s. were intensively blown. Its flat surface is diversified by many dunes of different shapes and sizes. Aeolian coversands are formed here as a cover of changing thickness. The „desert” is not a typical dry climatic area. The term Starczynów „Desert” refers to the area of occurrence of bare sands and aeolian processes and makes a geographical name that can be found on topographic maps. Its development was conditioned by human activity, where since the Middle Ages dense forest areas have been cut to obtain timber for the needs of contemporary mining and metallurgy of lead and silver ores causing the activation of aeolian processes at sandy substratum, built from the Vistulian proluvial-deluvial deposits. In the formation of the aeolian relief of Starczynów „Desert” it is possible to distinguish some stages of intensive wind activity: the 13th-15th centuries, the 16th-17th centuries, the turn of 18th and 19th centuries, the turn of 20th and 21st centuries. In present times human interference in the environment of Starczynów „Desert” consists of fixing sandy areas to protect them from deflation. Human damage exists here in the aeolian relief through terrain levelling and building fire escape roads. In the north-eastern part of the „desert” sand was exploited, therefore a sandpit appeared. This area was subject to the activity of mining for Zn-Pb ores, which caused numerous collapsed cones. In the last few years this part of the „desert” was properly reclaimed.
  • The issues of drainage of discussed mines in the Katowice conurbation, Poland

    Lamparska Marzena (Sciendo, 2013-03-01)
    The Katowice conurbation is situated in the Upper-Silesian Coal Basin, in a region which had high rate of water inflow in the pre-mining period. In order to make deposits of mineral resources accessible, it was, and still is, necessary provide mines with a draining system, which now reaches as deep as 1200 m. The area of the depression sink which was thus created is about 1200 km2. Currently, all metal ore mines within the conurbation, as well as part of coal mines, have been closed down, but water which flows into them is still pumped out due to the legal obligation to protect neighbouring operating mines. After the operation and drainage of mines cease, water coming to abandoned excavations will begin restoring static reserves in the orogen, which, depending on hydrological conditions, will take between several and a few dozen years. As the level of underground water rises, the process of subsidence of old shallow mining excavations will intensify, and many depressions may appear in highly urbanized areas. In areas of mining subsidence, the underground water-table will be close to the surface, causing flooding of basements and building foundations, and the deepest subsidence basins will probably be completely flooded. Current location of operating mines on the northern and southern sides of the conurbation with the central belt of drained excavations is unfavourable for its sustainable development. A solution, which would make it possible for the conurbation to grow, would be to close down and flood the mines on the northern side as soon as their mining concessions expire, which will be in early 2020s. Then, the area would regain its original stability within a decade and all kinds of construction activities could be carried out there. That, however, requires authorities of municipalities to object to the extension of concessions for mines, which may be impossible to obtain due to fears of social discontent resulting from miners - residents of those municipalities - being made redundant.
  • The typology of the nature values in the mining towns on the examples from the region of the Rybnik Coal Area

    Pukowiec Katarzyna; Kurda Wojciech (Sciendo, 2013-12-01)
    Nature’s resources having a usability attribute are nature values – if they are able to provide for human demands that are being exploited. This article relates to the environmental potential of mining and post – mining areas as well as possibilities of its use in the development of tourisms and recreation. An original typology of the nature value and the assessment of the tourist usability of environment of chosen mining towns of the Rybnik Coal Area – Wodzisław Śląski, Radlin, Rydułtowy, and Pszów are presented in this work. The Rybnik Coal Area is situated in the southern Poland, in a south-west part of the Upper Silesian Coal Basin. A geological substratum consists of Carboniferous rocks with a hard coal layer exploited from the end of 18th century, but more intensively in the last half-century. In all of the researched towns, hard coal mining is still running and anthropogenic processes changing the environment are taking place. An inventory of natural resources was performed during the direct field work in the years 2010-2011. The nature values were catalogued in a typological way according to the elements of the environment from which they result, focusing on the mining character of the research areas. Therefore, geologic, geomorphologic, hydrologic and biotic (of flora and fauna) have been highlighted, while climatic values have been omitted intentionally due to the vast issue of the assessment of the bioclimatic zone potential. Additionally, natural and anthropogenic elements were distinguished in each group of the values. Due to a significant degree of anthropogenic transformations of the environment, the analysed area is characterised by low environmental attractiveness; tourism and recreation play a marginal role there. Among the nature values of the analysed towns, the geologic qualities are the most significant ones. Therefore, geotourism is the form of tourist activity suggested to revive the region. The greatest potential for the development of geotourism is shown by Pszów, Radlin, Rydułtowy. The development and popularisation of geoturism should be included in the planning documents of the towns mentioned above. In order to increase tourist movement, it is suggested to mark up so-called academic-didactic paths and to mark geotourist object with appropriate information signs and more importantly with the development of infrastructure serving tourism and recreation.

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