Analysing changes in land cover in relation to environmental factors in the districts of Znojmo and Třebíč (Czech Republic)
The aim of this study is to determine the influence of selected environmental factors on the dynamic changes in the landscape in the Czech Republic: 1) to detect land use changes between 1986–2013 along altitudinal gradients in two neighbouring Czech districts (Třebič and Znojmo), 2) to test if there is a relationship between the spatial distribution of the main changes and selected environmental factors, 3) to identify differences in the sizes of agricultural fields between 1953 and 2013, and whether they are associated with changes in agricultural land use. Satellite Landsat TM/ETM scenes for 1986, 1994, 2002 and 2013 were used to define land cover categories (arable land, grassland, coniferous forest, deciduous forest, mixed forest, urban areas and inland water). The association between the distribution of changes in land-cover with environmental factors such as gradient, aspect, altitude, topographic wetness index (TWI), less-favoured areas (LFA), main soil units and climate zones was determined. Only a limited proportion of landscape changes were dependent on environmental factors in the study area. Over the period 1994–2013 there was a decrease in arable land and increase in grassland, mainly in the LFA zone. Slope of the terrain was a dominating factor in landscape changes. The association with TWI values was most significant in permanent arable land and in grassland in transition to arable land. There was an increasing trend in the annual average temperature and sum of solar radiation in both the districts, Třebič and Znojmo. A change from small fields (1953) to large fields (2013) was recorded in the study area. Distribution of field sizes was different in LULC classes for different climatic zones and the main soil units.
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