Regional Environmental Change

, Volume 13, Issue 5, pp 1109–1118 | Cite as

Land use history of a floodplain area during the last 200 years in the Upper-Tisza region (Hungary)

  • Katalin VargaEmail author
  • György Dévai
  • Béla Tóthmérész
Original Article


Research into landscape history makes it possible to follow landscape changes in the past and support landscape management, conservation and restoration programs. Floodplain habitats are lost, isolated and fragmented on account of land use. Nowadays, these habitats are threatened by modifications in the natural water regime, as well as agricultural and forestry practices. Floodplains have great importance because they provide a transition between aquatic habitats and terrestrial biotopes. Our analysis of aerial photographs and topographical maps revealed that the major predicted changes in the study area are related to agricultural abandonment and afforestation. The comparison of land cover maps from 1784 to 2005 showed intensification of agriculture with land cover conversions from arable land and orchards to grasslands, marshes and woodlands. The land use types that are mostly responsible for the fragmentation of the landscape are arable land, economic plantations and orchards. We found that fragmentation was greater after 1956. This was caused by socioeconomic changes and showed that the habitats of floodplains have changed intensively during the last 200 years. Knowledge of this last 200 years of history contributes to a more careful and wiser management of the region through biodiversity protection and environmental development.


Landscape change Habitat map GIS MESH Nearest neighbor DIVISION 



This research was supported by the NKFP-3B/0019/2002 project, entitled “Hydro-ecology of River Tisza and the Upper-Tisza region” and by the Ányos Jedlik Program—NKFP 6-00013/2005 project, entitled “Interaction of natural and induced ecosystems”. The study was supported by the TÁMOP 4.2.1./B-09/1/KONV-2010-0007 and TÁMOP-4.2.2/B-10/1-2010-0024 projects. We are also thankful to Szilárd Szabó and Gyergely Szabó for their proposals during the computer work. We are indebted to János Tóth and Róbert Enyedi for their help during the field work.

Supplementary material

10113_2013_424_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (132 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 132 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Katalin Varga
    • 1
    Email author
  • György Dévai
    • 2
  • Béla Tóthmérész
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of EcologyUniversity of DebrecenDebrecenHungary
  2. 2.Department of HydrobiologyUniversity of DebrecenDebrecenHungary

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