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 floodplain sector under analysis is located in the south-western extreme part of Romania, covering a distance of about 260 kilometres between the towns of Drobeta Turnu-Severin (westwards) and Bechet (eastwards) and extending on variable breadths, from a few tens of meters to more than 14 kilometres (with greater extension near the settlements of Ciuperceni and Cârna). In the framework of its strategic and economic importance, of the food sources offered by the Danube floodplain and ponds, the human interventions within this unit were diverse and affected the balance and the metabolism of the natural ecosystems. In numerous cases, this type of intervention, under its multiple forms, led to irreversible changes of the environmental features. The present paper aims at analysing the theoretical and actual conservation status of the most important flora, fauna and habitat elements that are characteristic to the Danubian environment, as well as presenting some examples of good practices or financing sources that might contribute to the improvement of this approach in the prospect of the region’s sustainable development. The SWOT analysis allowed for a general, synthetic assessment of the quality of the environmental sub-systems within the Danube Floodplain sector under analysis and of their development possibilities in concordance with the sustainability principles.
Abstract: Among the natural hazards that confront the human civilisation and its activities, floods represent hydro-meteorological phenomena with high frequency and with destructive effects, both in the economic and in the social sectors.
The Oltenian sector of the Danube Floodplain develops between Drobeta-Turnu Severin and Corabia, being 335 kilometres long and covering a surface of about 105 thousand hectares, which represents around 1/5 of the entire surface of the floodplain displayed by the Danube on the Romanian territory. Under the conditions of this geographical space, the Danube Floodplain presents high vulnerability.
It is necessary to explain the somewhat differentiated flooding of the Oltenian sector of the Danube Floodplain on the two sub-sectors: the one stretching between Drobeta-Turnu Severin and Golenţi – Calafat, as compared to the other, which extends downstream of Calafat, all the way to Corabia and Islaz. Also, it is important to show the reasons that led to the flooding of certain human settlements located within the southern sub-sector, on the morphological levels offered by the low and inferior terraces of the Danube, respectively the settlements that exist between Rast and the confluence between the Olt and the Danube rivers. Finally, taking into account the stipulations of the new National Strategy for Risk Management, we shall formulate certain recommendation to increase the resilience of the area to flood phenomena.