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Volume IX |

The Analysis of Forest Dynamics within the Carpathians – The Subcarpathians Contact Area by Using the Historical Cartography Approach and Open Source GIS Software. Case Study: The Limpedea Catchment (Romania)

Abstract: The paper is an original contribution based on the diachronic comparison of historical maps from different periods, with the purpose of capturing and mapping the landscape history of the Limpedea catchment (tributary of the Argeş), which stretches almost equally into the strongly man-altered space of the Subcarpathians, as well as into the mountain area. The study highlights the changes undergone by the Arefu – Corbeni Subcarpathian depression and the neighbouring mountain area, paying particular attention to the Carpathian – Subcarpathian interface zone. In order to achieve its goal, the study relied on large scale maps from the 1790-1980 period, which were processed in Open Source GIS (Quantum GIS, GRASS, gvSIG Sextante, MapAnalyst). The interpretation of cartographic information using GIS techniques showed a continuous recession of the forests in the Subcarpathian part of the catchment and their replacement by agricultural lands, which led to a gradual decrease of the naturality degree. In the 1864-1904 period, the extension of pastures and hay fields to the detriment of the forests was prevalent, whereas in the second half of the 20th century larger and larger areas of pastures and hay fields were turned into orchards or built-up areas.