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Volume X |

Indicators of the Human Pressure on the Environment in the Bălăciţa Piedmont

Abstract: The Bălăciţa Piedmont represents the western subdivision of the Getic Piedmont, being located in south-western Romania. The unit under study is an early inhabited space and, at the same time, an area of active development of numerous geodynamic phenomena. The man-induced changes had significant influences upon the environment and especially upon the relief, the increased vulnerability of the terrains to the dangerous geomorphologic phenomena being one of the most important problems that the local communities have to face nowadays. The present study aims to assess the human influence upon the emergence of environmental unbalances and especially the human actions that influence the risk geomorphologic processes. A relevant means in the process of evaluating the type and dimension of the human intervention within a given territorial unit concerns the computation of certain synthetic indicators that characterize the degree of landscape transformation. The assessment has been realized through the analysis of statistical data at the level of the administrative-territorial units that overlap the Bălăciţa Piedmont. The general research regards an interval of thirty years (1977 – 2007), while the focus was laid upon the transition period (1992, 2002, and 2007).

Volume X |

Human-Induced Environmental Changes and Floodplain Restoration Necessity along the Danube, on the Drobeta-Turnu Severin – Bechet Sector

Abstract: The present paper aims at analysing the human-induced transformations that took place in the Drobeta-Turnu Severin – Bechet sector of the Danube Floodplain during the last two centuries. The research started from the need to obtain a real and comprehensive database concerning the extension, the nature and the characteristics of the topographic-hydrographical, edaphic and biologic structures appeared or modified under human influence, their relation with the changes occurred at the level of the land use and their present functionality. Special attention was paid to the latter transformations occurred after 1989. The primary types of topographical and hydrographical changes resulted from the geomorphic human activity in the Danube Floodplain are analysed in relation with the land use within this unit. The analysis of the environmental transformations in the floodplain sector started from cartographic and statistical materials that are relevant for the 19th-21st centuries. For the post-communist period, the valorisation of the Corine Land Cover database allowed for a more detailed analysis of the land use dynamics. The data thus obtained was checked and updated with field observations and measurements, which are mandatory given the fact that the cartographic database shows deficiencies and it is partially outdated.

Volume IX |

The Analysis of the Relief Fragmentation Features within the Bălăciţa Piedmont

Abstract: Within the Bălăciţa Piedmont there are to be distinguished two areas with specific features, which correspond to the Danube catchment and to the Jiu drainage area. Both in the case of the drainage density, as well as in that of the relief energy, the distribution of the value classes correlated with the two catchments underlines major differences, but also certain resemblances, situation which is explained by the evolution time, the base level, the flow direction in relation with the structure and the lithological and climatic homogeneity.
The analysis of the data enabled the quantification of the relief energy and of the drainage density within the Bălăciţa Piedmont, as well as the correlation of the two parameters in report to the main catchments. The computation and representation methods for the two indicators of the relief fragmentation (i.e. the depth and the density) allowed for a quantitative interpretation (the identification of five value classes), as well as for a spatial interpretation (the grouping of the values depending on the two collecting rivers: the Danube and the Jiu). The aggregation of the influence factors on the two main drainage areas is mostly due to the fact that the Danube catchment extended its area in the detriment of the Jiu catchment, the three more important tributaries (the Blahniţa, the Drincea and the Desnăţui) catching sectors within the upper course of the tributaries of the Jiu.
The analysis of the relief fragmentation within the Bălăciţa Piedmont shows that this unit is on different evolution stages. The complexity of the fragmentation is closely connected to the maturity degree of the valleys and to the morphogenetic complexes imposed by the paleogeographical evolution.

Volume IX |

Social Vulnerability and Risks Associated to the Balkan Endemic Nephropathy in Mehedinţi County

Abstract: The Balkan Endemic Nephropathy (BEN), commonly known as “the dry kidney disease”, was observed for the first time in 1957 in Ergheviţa village from Mehedinţi County. Although, the phenomenon was mainly studied by doctors for a period of approximately 50 years, the number of cases increased, but the actual cause of the disease was not discovered yet.
Among the mainly incriminated elements, there is to be mentioned the underground water that crosses through the coal deposit located in the Huşnicioara mines.
It is important to notice the fact that this disease affects only the rural space, most of the effective areas of the disease being concentrated around the urban centres like Drobeta Turnu-Severin, Baia de Aramă, Strehaia and Vânju Mare. The respective rural communities are considered to be truly vulnerable to the poor quality of underground waters. Given the fact that new cases of nephropathy are continuously discovered, one of the hypothesis is that the risk induced by the pollution of underground water layers is significant and that the human communities are highly vulnerable to this element.
The present study identifies the actual status regarding the symptoms and the extension of the disease, as well as the economical-social circumstances that favour the occurrence of the cases, representing a strong signal concerning the human communities vulnerable to the pollution of a natural resource that is indispensable to human life – water.