The area of the Upper Silesian Coal Basin is the most important underground mining district in Poland. Coal mines, operating in the area since the eighteenth century, have contributed to massive transformations of the environment, not only in the form of its pollution or changes in topography, but also by the transformation of landscape structureLandscape structure
. River valleys within range of intensive exploitation have been severely modified. The Bielszowice Stream (Kochłowka) catchment is an example, eminent in the region, of such transformation of the watercourse and its adjacent area. The Bielszowice Stream flows through the highly urbanized areas of Ruda Slaska, Zabrze, Swietochlowice and Chorzow. During the period of approximately 170 years (1824–1993), significant changes were observed in the area in the participation of individual types of cover and land use. In the analysed period, the stream changed its course, both naturally and due to human activities. The study has used basic characteristics and the method of landscape metrics. The presentation of relevant coefficients allows a precise definition to be stated of environmental changes that have taken place. This method allows us to specify a quantitative and area participation and an interaction between various types of land use. The presentation of the issue using appropriate measuring instruments allows us to specify the scale of a change. Tabulation of results and a graphic representation of landscape structure of the researched catchment present the full variability of the environment. The direction of development of economic activities of the population determines the nature, intensity and rate of the changes taking place in the geographical environment.