The present paper analyses the context, nature, intensity and effects of the changes in the land use and land cover within the Danube Floodplain, between Drobeta Turnu-Severin and Bechet. The study follows the changes undertaken by the natural environment during ca. two hundred years (end of 18th century – present day).
As land use involves the transformation and management of the natural elements to the human benefit, the environmental changes within the Danube Floodplain were less the result of natural conditions and mostly the outcome of human impact. The latter exerted a highly significant influence mainly through the construction of longitudinal or partition flood-protection dykes, of the irrigation or drainage canals network, but also through the agricultural use of large surfaces naturally covered with water, forests, or reed. Nevertheless, the importance of the natural processes in the study of land use/land cover shows a growing trend over the last decades, when especially climatic changes are taken into consideration.
The importance of the present research is furthermore underlined by the strong connection that exist among the land use/land cover change and the dynamics of biological diversity, risk phenomena and sustainable development within this damaged environment, in the framework of its particular natural and social-demographical features.
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Abstract: The Sebeş basin represents a morphohydrographical entity, covering a surface of 1,289 square km, at the contact of the Southern Carpathian Mountains with the Transylvania Depression. The combined action of both the internal and the external factors determined a distinctive evolution of the relief within the basin, which is subordinated to the two morphostructural units. The background of the current geomorphologic processes in the Sebeş basin represents the consequence of the association among rock types, geological structure and modelling agent. The natural modelling processes are powerful and doubled by the man-induced processes, as a consequence of man’s intervention in the riverbeds, but also in the interfluve surfaces and slopes through the activities specific to the hydroenergetical, forest and agricultural use. The man-induced impact, through the location of the settlements, lines of communication, economic units and moreover, the land use and the change of its destination, determine an obvious differentiation of the slopes stability status. In order to evaluate the man-induced impact in the erosion of the slopes and their susceptibility to various processes, we have taken into consideration the permanent correlation of the geomorphologic indices with the forests’ extension degree for the topographical surface, the compactness and the consistency of the forest layers or the dispersion and fragile character of the vegetal layer in pastoral areas. There can be also added the dispersion or the concentration degree of the settlements, the pastoral economy and the hydroenergetical exploitation, specific to the mountainous area and the predominant agricultural and industrial use in the depression and plateau areas.