Cuantification Of Land Degradation Sensitivity Areas In Romania Using European DISMED Data

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Abstract

Land degradation is presently an important environmental issue in many regions of the Globe, including Central South-Eastern Europe, where Romania is located. This study aims to quantify areas with significant sensitivity to degradation at national level, based on data provided by the European Environment Agency, obtained relatively recently through the DISMED project (Desertification Information System for the Mediterranean) in the Mediterranean and Central South-Eastern regions of Europe. The analysis is based on extracting SDI index (Desertification Sensitivity Index) information for the country’s entire territory, as well as for certain major regional, natural (landforms) and anthropogenic (counties) units. Thus, the areas corresponding to the most representative classes for land degradation potential in Romania were extracted, i.e. the ones with moderate and high sensitivity. The study also attempts to differentiate the degradation / desertification processes spatially, by delimiting drylands, for which the land degradation process is considered to be equivalent to desertification. The results showed that, at national level, there are ~ 72 000 km2 of lands with moderate and high degradation potential (30% of the country’s total surface), of which 80% (~ 57 000 km2) can be classified as sensitive to desertification. It was noticed that most degradation-prone areas are concentrated in the Romanian Plain (~ 30000 km2 moderate sensitivity) and the Dobrogea Plateau (~ 4150 km2 high sensitivity), in terms of the natural criterion, and in Braila (~ 4200 km2 moderate sensitivity) and Constanta (~ 3200 km2 high sensitivity) counties, in terms of the anthropogenic one. It was also found that land degradation in these areas corresponds to desertification, considering the existence of dry sub-humid and semi-arid climates, which are components of dryland systems.

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