Volume XIII |

The Romanian urban system – an overview of the post-communist period

Abstract: The Romanian urban system reveals both the influence of the central-based inter-settlement relations and the influence of the historical conditions (persistence of regional influence centres inside the historical provinces). Its 12 urban sub-systems are formed of towns that gravitate towards the Capital city – Bucharest and the second and third-rank cities. The Romanian urban network appears to be insufficiently developed in terms of number of towns versus the total population and surface. In 2012, there were 320 towns, when 400–450 were expected to be as referred to the overall surface of the country. This proves an excessive polarisation area/town ratio compared to other West and Central European countries. Under the socioeconomic transformation determined by the fall of the communist regime, profound changes in terms of intensive spatial development (urban/suburban sprawl, metropolisation etc) were experienced, similar to other post-communist urban systems. Subsequently, the EU accession opened the former socialist cities to new challenges related to urban phenomena, turning them into points of connection at European level by promoting cohesion and competitiveness for a polycentric metropolitan development. The paper attempts to summarise the urban development in Romania and the particularities of the Romanian urban system in relation to the legislative and political context of the post-communist period and the EU accession.

Volume XIII |

Assessing long-term changes in forest cover in the South West Development Region. Romania

Abstract: The paper is discussing the importance of assessing forest dynamics based on several statistical and cartographic supports considered to be the most representative for the last century. The selected maps are able to point out the forest cover changes for three time frames (1912-1971; 1971-1990; 1990-2006) related to the relevant multi-temporal statistical and cartographic data as well as historical events such as land reforms, political changes related to the transition to the intensive and extensive communist agriculture and the post-communist period strongly related to the decolectivisation and privatisation of agriculture leading to the emergence of new types of property, an excessive land fragmentation and deforestation (illegal logging). The authors are aiming to analyse land use conversion and forest covered areas dynamics in relation to the main socio-political and natural driving forces by means of GIS methods (binary change index and trend index) based on a series of significant cartographic documents and a large and complex geodatabase.

Volume XI |

Invasive terrestrial plant species in the Romanian protected areas. Case study: Fallopia japonica in the Maramureş Mountains Natural Park

Abstract: Assessing invasive terrestrial plant species in protected areas is of major importance, taking into consideration the role they play as key drivers in conserving biological diversity. The paper is aiming to argue the Invasive Terrestrial Plant Species (ITPS) in the Romanian protected areas with a special focus on the species Fallopia japonica in the Maramures Mountains Natural Park. Fallopia japonica, also known as Polygonum cuspidatum or Reynoutria japonica is an herbaceous perennial plant, largely occupying the riparian ecosystems and causing serious damages to native vegetation. The species is broadly regarded as one of the most invasive plant species in Europe, also listed by the World Conservation Union as one of the world’s one hundred worst plant invaders. The paper seeks to analyze the potential spread of Fallopia japonica in a protected area-Maramures Mountains Natural Park – V IUCN category as well as Natura 2000 site (SPA and SCI) integrating comprehensive statistical and field data with modern computing methods (GIS-based). Consequently, based on accurate mapping and field investigation of Fallopia japonica in the study-area, the authors were able to identify specie’s main ecological requirements and preferences, spreading conditions etc. The current research will have great contribution to undertaking further studies on invasive terrestrial plant species development, distribution potential and impact upon native habitats.

Volume X |

The Climatic Water Deficit in South Oltenia Using the Thornthwaite Method

Abstract: Understanding the dryness and drought phenomena is fundamental in explaining the landscape features and the rational use of water resources in a region. The authors aim to assess the climatic water deficit (WD) in one of the most sensitive regions in Romania in terms of aridity: Southern Oltenia. Defining and characterizing the intense aridity was done based on the Thornthwaite method under a multi-annual regime (1961-2007) and during the growing season (April-October) in order to reveal the climate suitability for human activity and the optimum conditions for the main crops. In southern Oltenia the Thornthwaite aridity index values (Iar-TH) (%) defines an arid area, increasing from north to south and south-west from 40-45% to 50%. The highest values displaying a pronounced aridity (Iar-TH ≥ 50%) cover a significant part of the Blahniţa Plain, Desnăţui Plain, Southern Romanaţi Plain (Dăbuleni Field), the Jiu Valley and the entire Danube Plain (about 65% of the entire surface).