Investigating the link between soil quality and agricultural land use change. A case study in the Lake Balaton catchment, Hungary

Peter Szilassi, G. Jordán, Ferenc Kovacs, Anton van Rompaey, Wim van Dessel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

30 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The social, political and economical driving forces behind land use change in Central and Eastern European countries, such as land privatisation and EU-membership are well documented. However, there are few studies that examine the possible role of environmental characteristics such as soil quality in land use change, and most of these studies keep a marginal importance of the environmental factors on the land use change. The objective of this study is to investigate the regional scale relationship between soil quality and land use change before (1981-1990), during (1990-2000), and after (2000-2006) the land privatisation in Hungary. The Lake Balaton catchment was selected as a study area for such analysis because of its rapidly changing historic landscapes which are well-documented in terms of data availability. Historic land use data were obtained from military topographic maps (1981), CORINE land cover maps (1990, 2000) and satellite images (2006) at 1:100,000 scale. The National Soil Quality Evaluation System (NSES) is used for representing soil quality by 'soil quality scores' that lump various soil parameters such as organic matter content, soil texture and erosion level, derived from regional soil mapping. GIS methods were used to analyse, verify and evaluate soil quality and it is connection with the agricultural land use change. Results of this study show that soil quality has a relevant role in shaping rural landscape patterns in Hungary. It is demonstrated that the soil quality acts as a location factor in the case of arable land use change between 1981-1990. In this period, arable lands have been moved to areas where the best soils were found. Models that are used to predict future land use changes should therefore take into account the change patterns (arable land migration) described in this paper. Results also show that spatial land use change can be linked to the pattern of the complex NSES soil quality scoring systems.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)61-70
Number of pages10
JournalCarpathian Journal of Earth and Environmental Sciences
Volume5
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2010

Fingerprint

soil quality
land use change
agricultural land
catchment
lake
arable land
privatization
rural landscape
soil
soil texture
soil erosion
land cover
environmental factor
GIS
land use
organic matter

Keywords

  • Land privatisation
  • Land use change
  • Land use management
  • Rural landscape
  • Soil evaluation system
  • Soil quality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)
  • Environmental Science(all)

Cite this

Investigating the link between soil quality and agricultural land use change. A case study in the Lake Balaton catchment, Hungary. / Szilassi, Peter; Jordán, G.; Kovacs, Ferenc; van Rompaey, Anton; van Dessel, Wim.

In: Carpathian Journal of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Vol. 5, No. 2, 2010, p. 61-70.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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