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Volume II, Number 1, 2006

Biodiversity and Transformation: A Crimean Affair

Pages 3-22

ABSTRACT – The Crimean peninsula is a perfect example for the discrepancies between the approach of zonality taking the main vegetation and soil formations mainly as climate dependent and so as natural and the acceptance of an accelerated development of cultural landscapes. Crimea underwent several periods of profound economic ethnic and cultural changes comparable to its present dimension of “transformation”, which always affected the exploitation of natural resources. Thus only a few examples of “real steppe” exist between the extensively or intensively settled and cultivated areas. However several reports on intensive cereal cultivation on the Crimean plains during Greek, Hellenistic and Byzanthinian times may shed another light to the assumed natural grassland vegetation (cf. Mack & Carter 2003). Thus the question for the “steppe” as a grassland-chernosem system should be discussed again. The fact of predominance of cultural landscape systems on the peninsula should necessarily be incorporated in all conservation plans. The exclusion of further economic use or its profound change will again start processes of succession, and finally the goal of the preservation of human’s modified ecosystem will fail. Moreover the Crimean peninsula perfectly proves the necessity of incorporation of the historical and cultural changes of landscapes in order to understand their development and dynamics for a better and appropriate management.

Key words: Crimean peninsula, biodiversity, landscape evolution

Regional Inequalities: General Models and the Case of the Transition Countries
Pages 23-34

ABSTRACT – This material addresses the topic of regional disparities. The ground for the study is offered by the classical work made by J. G. Williamson (1965), who examined first on a wide base the development-dependency of regional differences. Former researches (Nemes-Nagy, J. 1987) have basically confirmed this relationship, probably making the course of development of regional inequalities more exact since having the available new information. The author concludes that the alternative is still opened both in social and in spatial sense for Hungary and for countries following the same course: the endurable differentiated “European” way and the more polarised, by crises frequently affected “Latin-American” way.

Key words: regional inequalities, transition, polarised development

The Impact of Changing Land Use upon the Environment in the Metropolitan Area of Bucharest. Preliminary Considerations
Pages 35-44

ABSTRACT – In this paper we highlight the major changes in land use during the transition from the centralised to the market economy (1989-2005). Agricultural de-collectivisation and privatisation have caused major structural changes in land uses with direct effects upon the quality of the environment. An urban area appeared around the metropolis where the most important environmental changes took place by dint of those from agriculture, because of agricultural policies and urban expansion. Within the interior ring of the metropolitan area several regional disparities have been highlighted. These are caused by the unequal development of its southern and southeastern areas, on the one hand, and of the western area, on the other hand.

Key words: Impact, land use, environment, metropolitan area

The Structural Geographic Components of a Territorial Survey
Pages 45-50

ABSTRACT – When using regional geographic approaches, i.e. when applying its concepts to the problems of anthropic communities from a certain territory, is compulsory. In this study we have taken into account the complex and the etymologically adequate meaning of the notion and not the meaning most commonly used at present (i.e. the functional zoning and regionalisation of the territory). Relying on the estimations of territorial surveys, one may give the solutions for the extant malfunctions and for optimising future developments. The geographic components of this parameter (the territorial survey) are: the natural support basis, the population and its settlements, the social and economic development level, the technical equipment of the territory, and the extant risks and malfunctions. Indices from 1 to 10 will be summed in order to give us the big picture, namely the present-day situation and the favourability level of that territory for various anthropic interventions.

Key words: territorial survey, natural support basis, the technical infrastructure of the territory, resilience, geographic components

Urban Policy and Urbanisation in the Transititon Romania
Pages 51-64

ABSTRACT – The main goal of this paper is to offer an analysis about the urban development strategies in Romania. The focus will be on the transition period (after 1989). Although we can not abstract the outcomes of the urban strategies from the previous period, when the communist state regulation had full controll on the urban policy. Urbanisation was the main goal of communist developments based on the idea of modernisation of the society. Therefore we will offer a brief overwiew of the communiste urban planning strategies. It has been resulted an unbalanced urban hierarchy dominated by the capital city of Bucharest and with a weak level of small cities both in terms of functions and infrastructure. The change of the political system in 1989 has established a new environment for the urban system in Romania, marked by the EU and NATO integration process, by the further globalisation of the romanian economy, privatisation and liberalisation of the urban land- and housing market, decentralisation and growth of the weight and importance of local level. Under this circumctances a new urban development strategy has evolved based on the following elements: a) development of a polycentric and balanced urban system, diminishing the overhelming role of Bucharest and reinforcing the second level of urban centres and the level of small cities; b) a new urbanisation wave has started in 2002, where the main aim is the declaration of new towns. It relies on the fact, that in 1997 the dominant internal migration form became the urban-rural migration, without precedent in the modern history of Romania and therefore the urban population of the country is declining. As result the urbanisation level fo the EU candidate country Romania is well behind the EU level (52%), a situation which should be mastered by the new strategy of urbanisation.

Key words: urbanisation, transition, settlement network

The Role of the Integrated Network Concept in Elaborating the Territorial Development Choremes. Case Study: the Peri-Urban Zone of the Municipium of Bistriţa
Pages 65-76

ABSTRACT – The choreme is a pattern of high generalization and abstracting concerning the status, the dynamics and the way of organizing a territory. This foreshadows territorial patterns in implementing the future anthropic structures, the evolutive directions of settlements, the best areas for developing and the critical ones, which claim specific measures of rehabilitation, the areas with some potential in development and the underdeveloped ones. Working out the choreme pattern of development relies on a series of theories (the theory of polarized space, the network theory, the theory of force axis, the theory of the rising poles, the theory of behavior, the clusters theory, and the fractals theory), and concepts of development (the concepts of system, region, potential, norms, sustainable development, discontinuation, stability, and the resource concept) aiming at scientific grounding the territorial transforming actions. The summary of these theories and concepts which are at the basis of territorial development concretize themselves in a new innovating concept of development – the concept of integrated network or the polarized space. The concept of integrated network represents, in thinking the organizing of the territory, an operational component, having the role of a vector in delimitating and establishing the locations of different categories of geographical territorial systems, which are natural or anthropic, already existent or in the making.

Key words: integrated network, choreme, periurban area, territorial development

Considerations upon the Notion of Pedoregion
Pages 77-84

ABSTRACT – In soil studies the idea of regionalisation was introduced for the proper use of agricultural and forest territory. Initially, pedoregions were considered to be groups of areas adequate for various land uses or advantageous for various agricultural crops. As part of these territorial units, the dominant or the associated soils had the some origins, features, and productivity.

Key words: pedoregion, pedoregioning, soil, erosion

Demographic Tendencies in the Cross-Border Region of Satu Mare (Romania) and Szabolcs-Szatmár-Bereg (Hungary) Counties
Pages 85-94

ABSTRACT – From the point of view of trans-border co-operations, the inventory of the regional socio- economic relationships is indispensable for an exhaustive empirical study. Through this study we only begin to understand the demographic tendencies in Satu Mare County (Romania) and Szabolcs-Szatmár-Bereg County (Hungary) in order to highlight the main features of the most important resource – the human capital. The analysis of the main indicators refers, first of all, to the vital statistics, population migration, and the demographic structure. Although the economical periphery-status of the Hungarian side is not valid for the Romanian side – because Satu Mare County is a medium-developed, while Bihor County is an advanced region in Romania – the demographic periphery status is fitting to the two Romanian counties, and because the relative positive tendencies, the Hungarian counties have a quite good demographical position in comparison with other regions in Hungary. That is why we have to face a kind of contradiction because the lack of spatial interference between demographical, positional and economical peripheries. At the Hungarian side the most disadvantageous subregions from social point of view are those lying next to the border line, while in Romania the border area is the most urbanized and developed subregion. The relative good demographical situation in Hungary in great part is a consequence of the presence of the numerous Gipsy population, which in the same time represents a major reason of the disadvantaged demographic-structural indicators, such as educational level or infant-mortality.

Key words: population growth, migration, demographic periphery, young and old population, Gipsy population, border area

Contemporary Social and Economic Coordinates of the Disadvantaged Areas of Baia Mare, Borşa-Vişeu, and Rodna
Pages 95-112

ABSTRACT – Our paper researches the economic and social causes which turned Baia Mare, Borşa-Vişeu, and Rodna into disadvantaged zones, the initial and the extant legislation, the decision-making factors, the desiderata of the national and regional policy, and their consequences. This paper claims to identify the mechanism of a key phenomenon that has led to the appearance of several economic and, implicitly, social problems specific to the disadvantaged areas (the reform of the mining sector). It also claims to answer a very frequent question in the last 15 years: “What are the development desiderata and alternatives?” for the disadvantaged areas of northern Romania from the North-Western Development Region: Baia Mare, Vişeu-Borşa, and Rodna. The economy of these areas is characterized by the dominance of the industrial activities and the underdevelopment of the service sector. This is why the loss of jobs in industry has been significant at the level of the local communities and has led to chronic economic and social imbalance (e.g. degraded economic development, long-term unemployment, the deterioration of the living standards). As we have pointed out in a previous study (Ilovan, 2005c), the economic rehabilitation of these disadvantaged mining zones has been possible only by granting them the status of “disadvantaged area”. At present, the “assisted zones” appear as an alternative to the disadvantaged areas where the fiscal facilities have disappeared. This leads to a status of normal functionality, observing the laws of competition. This way the implementation of several programmes with the involvement of local communities will eliminate the above-mentioned flaws and will solve the extant economic and social problems of these areas.

Key words: disadvantaged zones, social and economic coordinates, region, “lands”

Trends of Industrial Reconversion in the Land of the Moţi
Pages 113-120

ABSTRACT – Our paper presents an example of a regional development strategy where wood industry and mining still ensure the functionality of the region. The strategy we have presented may be expanded to territories where industrial reconversion has called for the breaking up of traditional economic branches.
We have concluded that the economic specificity of the Land of the Moţi relies on these two industrial branches (mining and wood processing), even if, some severe restructuring has been taking place.

Key words: Land of the Moţi, trends, industry, reconversion

The Regionalisation of Natural Risks in the Someşul Mare Hills
Pages 121-126

ABSTRACT – The significance of studying natural risks derives from the human society’s necessity to live safely. This approach is at its best if the analysis is undertaken at a micro-scale, i.e. through regionalisation, which supposes the complex treatment of all its environmental components and the study of all the phenomena taking place in it. Most of the risk phenomena result from the interaction of many factors, each of them with different and specific laws, and evolution trends. The regionalisation of risks is necessary as it leads to highlighting the phenomena on certain risk-friendly areas. Because of the complexity of the natural and the anthropic factors, the Someşul Mare Hills are a favourable environment for the evolution of the geographic risk phenomena; hence the necessity of the regional analysis of those phenomena.

Key words: natural risks, genetic factors, regionalisation