Little Vistula Valley; alluvial fan; human impact; land use changes
Environmental and Socio-Economic Studies, Vol. 7, iss. 1 (2019), s. 50-58
Development within the River Little Vistula valley undoubtedly started at the very beginnings of the Polish state. At that stage, human activity focused on finding and adapting sites that were suitable for permanent settlement and also on utilising the resources found in the valley and afforded by the river such as fishing and shipping opportunities. The shape of the River Little Vistula alluvial fan also allowed the construction of numerous canals branching from the river channel, on which mills, fulleries and sawmills were established. The characteristics of the landscape changes which have taken place in the study area have been presented on the basis of analyses of large-scale (1:28,800) topographic maps from the mid-18th and 19th centuries, modern topographic maps and also from visits to the study area (General-Mappa des Merzogthums Ober-Schleisien 1763–1764 and Übersicht der Militar Aufmahme von Mähren und Schlesien, 1839-1840). It was found that landscapes of the River Little Vistula alluvial fan are “landscapes of valleys and plains subject to water accumulation and floods”. Such areas are characterised by the presence of groundwater at low depths and are subject to periodic flooding by river waters, which are rich in mineral substances. Their habitats include riparian forests and flood meadows, which have often been transformed into arable fields. Characteristic types of soils in these areas include alluvial soils and peats, and typical elements of the landscape are water bodies, mainly fish ponds.