Lefteri DUSHAJ, Fatbardh SALLAKU, Etleva JOJIC, Bujar HUQI, Shkelqim FORTUZI, Majlinda BELEKU
Upon the demise of socialism in 1991 Albania implanted a radical land reform, redistributing formerly collective land on an equal per capita basis, leading to drastic changes in land use. The consequences of this transition for the post socialist rural landscapes in Albania are examined in this paper. A village-level survey was conducted to analyze household resources and constraints. The survey was then integrated with data derived from satellite image interpretation and geographic information systems to develop a statistical model of two key land use changes of interest: the abandonment of cropland and forest-cover loss. Findings indicate that cropland is more likely to be abandoned further away from populated places, the national road network, and in villages with a lower household density. Land fragmentation is associated with greater abandonment in the later stages of transition. Forest loss occurs predominantly around the populated places in the period immediately following the collapse of socialism, and occurred in more remote areas within the last decade. New spatio-social partitions are emerging in the landscape, as land users abandon land to seek new opportunities, shift to more profitable market-oriented agriculture, or revert to subsistence strategies in the most marginal areas. Land-use and land-cover change are research aspects that are of global, regional as well as local importance. Examples for global significance are the carbon sequestration potential of soils and the biomass. Regional importance has, for example, the vegetation cover of particularly sloping land due to potential downstream damages caused by sedimentation of upstream topsoil erosion. Locally important are the income generating possibilities of the land, most importantly in rural areas from crop and livestock production. This paper assesses the recent developments in land-cover modifications and land-cover changes in Southeastern Albania with an emphasis on regional and local determinants of land-cover changes including a qualitative discussion of the potential impacts on environmental and socioeconomic development. To derive the state of and the changes in land cover changes satellite images area interpreted for three points in time. The spatially explicit land-cover data is linked to village data derived from a quantitative village survey, and to various indicators derived from geographic information systems (GIS).
Land use planning, land suitability, land use, land use change
Presentation: oral