Transformations of traditional land use and settlement patterns of Kosarysche Ridge (Chornohora, Western Ukraine)

Agnieszka Nowak, Natalia Tokarczyk



The traditional character of Hutsul villages and their spatial development has been changing slowly but inevitably over the course of time. Historically, single farmsteads were built separately and were mostly self-sufficient, the distance between them being considerable. Nowadays, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the economic transformation brought along many changes, among these the fact that depopulation is taking place and alterations in spatial development are occurring again. The localisation of secluded farmsteads, situated far away from each other is no longer as important as it used to be. Reasons for the abandonment of farmsteads were examined, and factors such as altitude, distance from the village centre and the administration affiliation were taken into account. Land use changes were analysed in relation to the slope inclination. Some of the most important factors influencing the intensity and direction of these processes are high prices of land, improvement in living conditions, better access to services and the general 'westernisation' of lifestyles. The depopulation rate has been seen to increase in correlation with the rising altitude and distance from the village centre. On the other hand, there was no unambiguous link between the abandonment of farmsteads and administration affiliation. Mowed areas were localised on the slopes with the smallest inclination. Animal breeding has become unprofitable due to a lack in demand and low product prices, which has led to an increasing number of meadows and pastures lying fallow.


Western Ukraine; cultural landscape; land use; settlement; farms distribution

Full Text:



Baumann, M., Kuemmerle, T., Elbakidze, M., Ozdogan, M., Radeloff, V.C., Keuler, N.S., Prishchepov, A.V., Kruhlov, I. and Hostert, P., 2011: Patterns and Drivers of Post-Socialist Farmland Abandonment in Western Ukraine. In: Land Use Policy, Vol. 28, Issue 3, pp. 552–562. DOI: .

Bezak, P., Halada, L., Petrovič, F., Boltižiar, M. and Oszlanyi, J., 2007: Bukovské vrchy in the Slovak Carpathian Mountains – landscape changes and trends. In: Mander, U., Helming, K. and Wiggering, H. editors, Multifunctional Land Use – Meeting Future Demands for Landscape Goods and Services, Springer Verlag, pp. 355–367. DOI: .

Collantes, F. and Pinilla, V., 2004: Extreme depopulation in the Spanish rural mountain areas: a case study of Aragon in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. In: Rural History, Vol. 15, Issue 2, pp. 149–166. DOI:

Falcucci, A., Maiorano, L. and Boitani, L., 2007: Changes in land-use/land-cover patterns in Italy and their

implications for biodiversity conservation. In: Landscape Ecology, Vol. 22, pp. 617–631. DOI: .

Garcia-Ruiz, J. M., Lasanta, T., Ruiz-Flano, P., Ortigosa, L., White, S., Gonzalez, C. and Marti, C., 1996: Land-use changes and sustainable development in mountain areas: a case study in the Spanish Pyrenees. In: Landscape Ecology, Vol. 11, pp. 267–277. DOI: .

Gellrich, M. and Zimmermann, N.E., 2007: Investigating the regional-scale pattern of agricultural land abandonment in the Swiss mountains: a spatial statistical modelling approach. In: Landscape and Urban Planning, Vol. 79, Issue 1, pp. 65–76. DOI: .

Griffiths, P., Kuemmerle, T., Kennedy, R.E., Abrudan, I.V., Knorn, J. and Hostert, P., 2012: Using annual time-series of Landsat images to assess the effects of forest restitution in post-socialist Romania. In: Remote Sensing of Environment, Vol. 118, pp. 199–214. DOI: .

Gudowski, J., 2001: Organizacja i ekonomika gospodarki pasterskiej na Huculszczyźnie. Stan obecny na tle tradycji (Organization and economy of animal husbandry in the Hutsulshchyna: Current state and tradition – in Polish with French and Ukrainian abstracts). In: Gudowski, J. editor, Pasterstwo na Huculszczyźnie. Gospodarka, kultura, obyczaj, Warszawa: Wydawnictwo Akademickie DIALOG, pp. 21–62.

Gurung, A., Bokwa, A., Chełmicki, W., Elbakidze, M., Hirschmugl, M., Hostert, P., Ibisch, P., Kozak, J., Kuemmerle, T., Matei, E., Ostapowicz, K., Pociask-Karteczka, J., Schmidt, L., van der Linden, S. and Zebisch, M., 2009: Global Change Research in the Carpathian Mountain Region. In: Mountain Research and Development, Vol. 29, No. 3, pp. 282–288. DOI: .

Kibych, A., 2010: Hutsulshchyna and public progress. In: Szymańska, D. and Biegańska, J. editors, Bulletin of Geography. Socio-economic Series, No. 14, Toruń: Nicolaus Copernicus University, pp. 37–50. DOI: .

Kozak, J., 2003: Forest cover change in the western Carpathians in the past 180 years: A case study in the Orawa region in Poland. In: Mountain Research and Development, Vol. 23, No. 4, pp. 369–375. DOI:[0369:FCCITW]2.0.CO;2 .

Kozak, J., 2010: Forest Cover Changes and Their Drivers in the Polish Carpathian Mountains Since 1800. In: Nagendra, H. and Southworth, J. editors, Reforesting Landscapes Linking Pattern and Process. Landscape Series, Vol. 10, pp. 253–273. DOI: .

Kozij, G., 1972: Pryroda i rosłynni bahatstwa ukrajins’kych Karpat (Nature and plant diversity of the Ukrainian Carpathians – in Ukrainian), Lwów: Wisnyk L’wiw. Un-tu.

Krukar, W., 2006: O górach Huculszczyzny (About the mountains of Hutsulshchyna – in Polish). In: Wielocha, A. editor, Góry Huculszczyzny, Kraków: COTG PTTK, pp. 5–24.

Krukar, W. and Troll, M., 2010: Czarnohora. Mapa turystyczno-nazewnicza (Chornohora. Tourist and nomenclature-defining map – in Polish), 1:60 000, Krosno: Wydawnictwo Ruthenus.

Kubijovyč, V., 1924: Rozmieszczenie kultur i ludności we Wschodnich Karpatach (Distribution of cultures and peoples in the eastern Carpathians – in Polish). In: Krakowskie odczyty geograficzne, No. 7, Kraków: Księgarnia Geograficzna Orbis.

Kuemmerle, T., Chaskovskyy, O., Knorn, J., Kruhlov, I., Radeloff, V.C., Keeton, W.S. and Hostert, P., 2009: Forest cover change and illegal logging in the Ukrainian Carpathians in the transition period from 1988 to 2007. In: Remote Sensing of Environment, Vol. 113, pp. 1194–1207. DOI: .

Kuemmerle, T., Hostert, P., Radeloff, V.C., van der Linden, S., Perzanowski, K. and Kruhlov, I., 2008: Crossborder comparison of post-socialist farmland abandonment in the Carpathians. In: Ecosystems, Vol. 11, pp. 614–628. DOI: .

Latocha, A., 2012: Changes in the rural landscape of the Polish Sudety Mountains in the post-war period. In: Geographia Polonica, Vol. 85, Issue 4, pp. 13–21. DOI: .

MacDonald, D., Crabtree, J.R., Wiesinger, G., Dax, T., Stamou, N., Fleury, P., Gutierrez Lazpita, J. and Gibon, A., 2000: Agricultural abandonment in mountain areas of Europe: Environmental consequences and policy response. In: Journal of Environmental Management, Vol. 59, pp. 47–69. DOI: .

Mackiewiczowna, J., 1934: Ze studiów osadniczych w dolinie Górnego Prutu (Studies of settlement In the valley of the Upper Prut – in Polish). In: Czasopismo Geograficzne, Vol. 12, Issue 3–4, pp. 331–333.

Męciński, Z., 1938: Studia zootechniczne nad owcą górską na Huculszczyźnie (Zootechnical research on mountain sheep in the Hutsulshchyna – in Polish). Kraków: Polska Akademia Umiejętności.

Mladenov, Ch., 2011: Demographic Potential and Problems of the Settlements Network in the Mountains of Bulgaria. In: Zhelezov, G. editor, Sustainable Development in Mountain Regions: Southeastern Europe, Springer Verlag, pp. 159–171. DOI: .

Muller, P., Leitao, P. and Sikor, T., 2013: Comparing the determinants of cropland abandonment in Albania and Romania using boosted regression trees. In: Agricultural Systems, Vol. 117, pp. 66–77. DOI: .

Nesteruk, J., 2001: Szata roślinna wschodniokarpackich połonin i ochrona strefy wysokogórskiej (Vegetation of the eastern Carpathian polonynas and protection of high-mountain zone – in Polish with French and Ukrainian abstracts). In: Gudowski, J. editor, Pasterstwo na Huculszczyźnie. Gospodarka, kultura, obyczaj, Warszawa: Wydawnictwo Akademickie DIALOG, pp. 63–78.

Olszański, T.A., 1994: Historia Ukrainy XX w. (The history of the twentieth century Ukraine – in Polish). Warszawa: Oficyna Wydawnicza VOLUMEN.

Palang, H., Printsmann, A., Gyuro, E.K., Urbanc, M., Skowronek, E. and Woloszyn, W., 2006: The forgotten rural landscapes of Central and Eastern Europe. In: Landscape Ecology, Vol. 21, pp. 347–357. DOI: .

Pellissier, L., Anzini, M., Maiorano, L., Dubuis, A., Pottier, J., Vittoz, P. and Guisan A., 2013: Spatial predictions of land-use transitions and associated threats to biodiversity: the case of forest regrowth in mountain grasslands. In: Applied Vegetation Science, Vol. 16, Issue 2, pp. 227–236. DOI: .

Reif, A., Ruşdea, E., Păcurar, F., Rotar, I., Brinkmann, K., Auch, E., Goia, A. and Buhler, J., 2008: A Traditional Cultural Landscape in Transformation. In: Mountain Research and Development, Vol. 28, No. 3–4, pp. 18–22. DOI: .

Rey, V. and Bachvarov, M., 1998: Rural settlements in transition – agricultural and countryside crisis in the Central-Eastern Europe. In: GeoJournal, Vol. 44, Issue 4, pp. 345–353. DOI:

Roura-Pascual, N., Pons, P., Etienne, M. and Lambert, B., 2005: Transformation of a rural landscape in the Eastern Pyrenees between 1953 and 2000. In: Mountain Research and Development, Vol. 25, No. 3, pp. 252–261. DOI:[0252:TOARLI]2.0.CO;2 .

San Roman Sanz, A., Fernandez, C., Mouillot, F., Ferrat, L., Istria, D. and Pasqualini, V., 2013. Longterm forest dynamics and land-use abandonment in the Mediterranean mountains, Corsica, France. In: Ecology and Society, Vol. 18, No. 2, 38. DOI: .

Sitko, I. and Troll, M., 2008: Timberline Changes in Relation to Summer Farming in the Western Chornohora

(Ukrainian Carpathians). In: Mountain Research and Development, Vol. 28, No. 3–4, pp. 263–271. DOI: .

Soliva, R., 2007: Agricultural Decline, Landscape Change, and Outmigration. In: Mountain Research and Development, Vol. 27, No. 2, pp. 124–129. DOI: .

Steinicke, E. and Loffler, R., 2013: Newcomers in the Italian Alps – Effects on Autochthonous Linguistic Minorities. In: Conference materials – Migration: Global Development, New Frontiers, Interdisciplinary conference on migration, 10–13 April, 2013. University College London.

Turnock, D., 2002: Ecoregion-based conservation in the Carpathians and the land use implications. In: Land Use Policy, Vol. 19, pp. 47–63. DOI: http://dx.doi. org/10.1016/S0264-8377(01)00039-4 .

Witkowski, W., 2001: Kultura materialna – połoninie budownictwo (Material culture – polonyna architecture – in Polish with French and Ukrainian abstracts). In: Gudowski, J. editor, Pasterstwo na Huculszczyźnie. Gospodarka, kultura, obyczaj, Warsaw: Wydawnictwo Akademickie DIALOG, pp. 159–223.

Witkowski, W., 2006: Architektura Huculszczyzny (Architecture of Hutsulshchyna – in Polish). In: Wielocha, A. editor, Góry Huculszczyzny, Kraków: COTG PTTK, pp. 127–164.

Zahorecka, Z., 1934: Z geografji osiedli stałych w dorzeczu Czarnego Czeremoszu (Geography of the permanent settlements in the basin of the Black Cheremosh – in Polish). In: Czasopismo Geograficzne, Vol. 12, Issue3–4, pp. 335–341.

Żukowski, J., 1935: Huculszczyzna: przyczynki do badań nad budownictwem ludowem (Hutsulshchyna: contributions to the research on the folk architecture – in Polish). In: Biuletyn Historji Sztuki i Kultury, Vol. 3, No. 4, Warszawa: Zakład Architektury Polskiej i Historji Sztuki Politechniki Warszawskiej.

Print ISSN: 1732-4254
Online ISSN: 2083-8298

Partnerzy platformy czasopism