Introduction: An understanding of landscape change and forest dynamics based on topographical parameters and human activities is important for the sustainable management of forest ecosystems.
Objective: Update the analysis of land-use/land-cover changes in the Gümüşhane Forest Enterprise in northeastern Turkey.
Materials and methods: Forest improvement changes over the last 26-year period (1987-2013) were analyzed in terms of land-use/land-cover classes using forest management plans. The temporal transitions among the land use and cover types were also documented and evaluated based on topographical parameters and distance from settlements using elevation maps and ring buffers.
Results and discussion: This period showed rapid forest improvement with an increase of 50,910 ha, amounting to a 1.58 % annual improvement rate. While the most highly forested elevation zone (66.6 % - 40,124 ha) was located between 1,501 and 2,000 m, the highest forestation rate (22.4 % - 13,509 ha) was found at a distance of over 500 m from settlement areas between 1971 and 2013. In terms of fragmentation, on the other hand, Gümüşhane forests were fragmented by an areal increase in productive forest areas between 1971 and 2013.
Conclusions: Important data on the dynamics of forest ecosystems in Gümüşhane Forest Enterprise were obtained. There is a strong link between land use changes and forest cover, social pressure, settlement distance, and elevation class.