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Agnieszka Nowak and Natalia Tokarczyk

Abstract

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.

Open access

Andreea Mănescu, Luca Mihail and Mihalache Raluca

Abstract

The Siret River are used as raw water source for different municipal water supply systems, yet the Siret River are used as receiving bodies by some inhabitants and industry. In the study the quality of the Siret River water was determinate using a Water Quality Index (WQI). Results are presented from a field study performed on the Bistrita, Moldova, Suceava, Siret, Şomuzu Mare, Trotuş and Tributary River in the study area Siret Basin Romania. The main objective of this study was to determine is to find correlations land use to indicators physical-chemical of water quality, to investigate pollution source is more responsible for river water quality. This is of interest not only research context, but also for supporting and facilitating the application analysis postullend in the Water Framework Directive (WFD) (2000/60/CE) for the establishment of programmers of measures. For this purpose a slightly impact pollution source municipal wastewater treatment, land uses, urban, forest, agriculture and mining was selected and intensively monitored during six years January 2006 - December 2011, sampling was determined to meet the WFD standards for confidence in twenty two different control section of the Siret Basin. The main measures to reduce emissions to the Siret River were calcium, ammonium, sulfate, residue fixed (RF), sodium, chloride, free detergent and municipal wastewater treatment, concentrated on point emission. The main contributor to diffuse this parameters increased when more percentage of land was dedicated to industry and urban and less to forest and mining.

Open access

Maarit Sireni

Abstract

Drawing on an empirical analysis of Finnish local policy-makers’ views on land use planning aims in rural areas, this paper investigates local responses to the new national planning regulations set out by the Government. According to the new norms, a dense settlement structure should be promoted not only in urban centres but also in rural areas in order to curb climate change and improve the viability of communities. Based on the data obtained from an internet-based survey conducted by a regional newspaper in western Finland before municipal elections in 2008 and 2012, this paper shows that the majority of the local policy-makers challenge the new norms. They do not believe that sustainable development can be promoted by constraining building rights in the rural region characterised by a dispersed settlement structure.

Open access

Liisi Jääts, Kersti Kihno, Pille Tomson and Marge Konsa

Tracing fire cultivation in Estonia

Fire cultivation is possibly the agricultural land-use method of the longest duration in Estonia; yet still it has attracted little attention from researchers. The aim of this paper is two-fold: firstly, to discuss the latest stage of historical bushland management via fire cultivation as it appears in historical sources, and secondly to look for ways in which the natural historical research methods can be combined with those of the humanities in search of more complex understanding of land-use dynamics. The material analysed are the 19th century agrarian laws and ethnographic data. These sources show that researchers have so far rather under- than overestimated the persistence and spread of fire use - a number of fire cultivation cases are reported even from the early 20th century from different parts of Estonia. Thus we suggest that bushland management with fire cultivation methods has continued longer than previously assumed. Analysis of the 19th century Livonian agrarian laws shows that legislation of the period directed the land-use pattern away from the earlier practice of a mosaic or scattered patchwork of wooded areas and cleared fields, towards bigger wooded areas and more compact cultivated areas, thus bringing about changes in the landscape.

Open access

Orsolya Valkó, Stephen Venn, Michał Żmihorski, Idoia Biurrun, Rocco Labadessa and Jacqueline Loos

Abstract

Disturbance by biomass removal is a crucial mechanism maintaining the diversity of Palaearctic grasslands, which are unique biodiversity hotspots. The century-long traditional land use of mowing, grazing and burning, has been fundamentally changed in many parts of the Palaearctic. Due to socio-economic changes, large areas of former pastures and meadows have been abandoned, leading to a succession towards secondary scrublands or forest and the encroachment of competitor grass species, all leading to a decrease in biodiversity. Here we report the causes and consequences of the cessation of traditional grassland management regimes, provide strategies for reducing the impact of abandonment and consider these from the perspective of sustainability. We consider the possibilities for initiating sustainable management regimes in the contemporary socio-economic environment, and discuss the prospects and limitation of alternative management regimes in the conservation of grassland biodiversity. These themes are also the core topics of this Special Feature, edited by the EDGG. We hope that this Special Feature will encourage steps towards more sustainable strategies for the conservation of Palaearctic grasslands and the integration of the sustainability perspective into their conservation.

Open access

Tomasz Orczykowski and Andrzej Tiukało

Abstract

Land use is considered as a non-structural, ecologically beneficial flood protection measure. Forest as one of the land use types has many useful applications which can be observed in detail on www.nwrm.eu website project. It is scientifically proved that afforestation influences flood events with high probability of occurrence. However, it is still to be argued how to measure land use impact on the hydrological response of watershed and how it should be measured in an efficient and quantifiable way. Having the tool for such an impact measurement, we can build efficient land management strategies. It is difficult to observe the impact of land use on flood events in the field.Therefore, one of the possible solutions is to observe this impact indirectly by means of hydrological rainfall-runoff models as a proxy for the reality. Such experiments were conducted in the past. Our study aims to work on the viability assessment, methodology and tools that allow to observe this impact with use of selected hydrological models and readily available data in Poland. Our first reaserch site is located within headwaters of the Kamienna river watershed. This watershed has been affected by ecological disaster, which resulted in loss of 65% of forest coverage. Our proposed methodology is to observe this transformation and its effect on the watershed response to heavy precipitation and therefore change in the flood risk.

Open access

Andrzej Biłozor, Małgorzata Renigier-Biłozor and Aleksandra Furman

Abstract

Space as a public good should be used in a way that is consistent with recognized social, cultural, aesthetic, economical and ecological values. The optimization of space is associated with its limitations, thus it should be subjected to rational management. Optimizing the function of city space involves identifying the most mismatched features of the area and a proposal to convert them into functions best suited with respect to the existing natural and anthropogenic, social, economic and ecological conditions. The selection criteria of the optimal use of land will be presented, as well as the parameters characterizing them and the possibility of using chosen multi-criteria methods of analysis. Social, economic and ecological criteria adopted for the analysis are the basis for the sustainable development of an area and coincide with factors which ought to be taken into account during the development of land-planning documents.

Open access

Alexandru-Ionuţ Petrişor and Liliana Petrişor

Abstract

Global change‟ is a relatively recent concept, related to the energy - land use - climate change nexus, and designated to include all changes produced by the human species and the consequences of its activities over natural ecological complexes and biodiversity. The joint effects of these drivers of change are particularly relevant to understanding the changes of biodiversity. This study overlaps results of previous studies developed in Romania to find, explain and predict potential threats on biodiversity, including the effects of very high temperatures and low precipitations, urban sprawl and deforestation in order to identify „hotspots‟ of high risk for the loss of biodiversity using geostatistical tools. The results found two hotspots, one in the center and the other one in the south, and show that the area affected by three factors simultaneously represents 0.2% of the national territory, while paired effects cover 4% of it. The methodological advantage of this approach is its capacity to pinpoint hotspots with practical relevance. Nevertheless, its generalizing character impairs its use at the local scale..

Open access

Ewa Błońska, Jarosław Lasota and Maciej Zwydak

Abstract

The aim of this study was to assess the effects of different types of land use (forest, tillage and pasture) on soil properties, especially enzyme activity. Our investigation was carried out on 53 research plots with 11 plots in broadleaved forest stands, 12 plots in mixed broadleaved stands, 10 plots in mixed coniferous stands, 9 plots on tillage and 11 plots on pasture. The soil samples were collected from a depth of 0–15 cm after removing the organic horizon. Contents of organic carbon and nitrogen, pH and soil texture were investigated. Furthermore, dehydrogenase and urease activity were determined. Significant differences in the enzyme activity between forest and agricultural soils were observed, thus demonstrating that enzyme activity is influenced by the organic matter content of the soil. The highest enzyme activity was recorded in the forest soil within broadleaved stands, whilst the lowest activity was found in tillage soil, because tillage soil contained significantly less organic matter. High enzymatic activity of pasture soils is the combined result of vegetation type and the lack of plowing.

Open access

Adela Hoble, Daniela Popescu, Claudiu Bunea, Daniel Cluzeau, Muriel Guernion, Annegret Nicolai, Alben Fertil, Silvia Winter, Johann Zaller and Gema Guzmán

Abstract

The perception of landscape and consumption behaviour in relation to landscape was estimated using a questionnaire-based survey with 17 photographs: 15 photos from Romanian representative landscape units, 1 photo representing a foreign landscape (Hungary), and 1 marketing photo. The photo documentation was conducted in sixteen vineyards ecosystems from Târnave Viticultural Region - Transylvania (NW-Romania). The most representative landscape was the photo that had the specifications and criteria: low practices intensity with low landscape complexity; and the less representative landscape was the photo that had the specifications and criteria: photo capturing hiking, walking, tourism, and recreational activities in a viticulture landscape. The landscape could influence the following aspects of communities’ livelihood: establishments and development of enterprises, tourism and recreation businesses, and the place to live. The words used by interviewed people to point out the landscape were interpreted from the point of view of the concept of multifunctionality.