Volume XV |

Modelling of Ecosystem Indicators in Geographic Information System Environment (A Case Study of the Sweet Chestnut Forest, Belasitsa Mountain, Bulgaria)

Abstract: The aim of the present research is to show the possibilities of applying computer technology in ecosystem investigations. The object of the research is the chestnut forests located on the Northern slopes of Belasitsa mountain (Southwest Bulgaria). Three study areas are determined for detailed investigation of structural and functional parameters (indicators) of chestnut ecosystems. These areas are located in forests with different ages (45-120 years old), different forestry management and different state. Ecosystem indicators are modeled on the base of field investigation and available published data, and the assessment of the forest state is done by spatial interpolation (inverse distance weighted) in geographic information system (GIS) environment (ArcGIS). Resulting model values are verified and validated by field investigations. An output layer showing the state of the chestnut forest in the investigated region is generated on the base of the raster surfaces, result of the interpolation and application of map algebra. Also, weight coefficients to the assessment values of the different indicators are used which makes the spatial analysis more correct. Created mapping model shows significant matching areas of forests in poor condition and forests in good conditions compared to the relevant determined on the base of forest management plan. The research confirms the advantages of GIS technology in processing large and varied data for assessing the impact of many factors on forest vegetation.

Volume XV |

Floristic composition and functional zones pattern of the beach-dune system along the Danube Delta coast – Romania

Abstract: This paper presents the floristic composition of vegetation for each feature on a beach-dune system sector from the western Black Sea coast, Romania. The studied site is a relatively small fragment of the 10 km shore on the southern part of the Danube Delta Biosphere Reserve (DDBR) that may be susceptible to anthropogenic pressure in the coming years. Out of the 38 identified species, ten are threatened species according to the national Red List of endangered plant species. Compositae and Poaceae are the families with the highest number of species. The analysis of floristic spectrum shows a mixture of elements of plant communities, but Pontic and Ponto-Caspian elements are prevalent.
Physiognomically, the foredunes in the Danube delta coast have a typical morphology, with a smooth profile and do not exceed 2 m high. They are vegetated by herbaceous annual and perennial plants, but in terms of abundance the native dune builder rhizomatous grasses are rare.
The fore dunes from this Black Sea coast sector serve as vital habitat and refuge for Convolvulus persicus L. within the western limit of its geographical range. This endemic Ponto-Caspian element defines a particular habitat type within the Black Sea biogeographic region: “Pontic shore dunes with Convolvulus persicus L.” Currently, the main threats of this habitat are cattle grazing and the increasing touristic activities (human trampling, horse riding and all-terrain vehicle riding).

Volume XV |

Derivation of ecological indicators for assessing landscape health and habitat disturbance in Lower Barpani watershed of Assam (India)

Abstract: Landscape health is a primary concern for management of resources and restoration of habitats of various fauna and avifauna in watershed. We derived landscape health index using Landsat Thematic Mapper satellite data of 1987 and 2011. Standard precipitation index, normalized difference water index, normalized difference moisture index, normalized difference barren land index, normalized difference vegetation index, human disturbance, height, slope, land use/ land cover were integrated to assess landscape health and habitat disturbance in Lower Barpani watershed in India. Landscape health was categorized into five groups, i.e. very good, good, moderate, poor and very poor.
Spatial-temporal variation of landscape health revealed that the area under very good health has degraded from 45% in 1987 to only 1% registering a decrease of 97.26%. The area under good, moderate, poor and very poor categories of landscape health experienced positive change. Habitat disturbance in forests and wetlands has also increased due to shifting agriculture, deforestation and cultivation in wetlands. Remotely sensed indices of landscape health and habitat disturbance can effectively be utilized for prioritizing ecological restoration across space at various scales.

Volume XV |

Demographic Development of Settlements in the South Banat County / District

Abstract: The demographic development of Vojvodina settlements takes place in accordance with the laws of the urbanization process, which is manifested in two phases: the first – after the Second World War until the beginning of the 80’s of the 20th century, which is characterized by a polycentric polarization, and the second – monocentric polarization, which is still present. Since the settlements leave a fundamental mark on the cultural landscape and are the main carriers of the functional organization and focal transformation of geospace, the paper analyzes spatial-demographic and functional determinants of development of the settlement network of the South Banat County (district) on the basis of quantitative and qualitative indicators.
The settlement network includes 94 settlements distributed on the territory of 8 municipalities: Pančevo1, Vršac, Kovin, Alibunar, Bela Crkva, Kovačica, Opovo and Plandište. The time period of the analysis and statistical survey of demographic components in the settlement network is observed through three inter-census periods, as follows: 1981-1991, 1991-2002 and 2002-2011. The analysis of demographic components has indicated that two poles of population concentration dominate within the network of settlements in this district: Pančevo (a sub-centre of the Belgrade – Novi Sad metropolitan area) and Vršac in comparison to other urban centres and the municipality centres.

Volume XV |

Evaluation of geoheritage models – analysis and its application on the loess profiles in Vojvodina region

Abstract: The touristic value of geoheritage sites has an important role in the decision of the tourists to visit certain destination. Also, the same site can help the people working in tourism to decide about the investments in certain geosite. In order to avoid subjectivity in assessing the value, several quantitative evaluation methods of objects are created, which criteria don’t differ too much. Mostly scientific values, representativeness, wholeness as well as tourist equipment are being evaluated. Evaluation models aim to draw attention to the current conditions and the potential every evaluated geosite has. This paper presents an analysis of the chosen quantitative models of geoheritage evaluation, where their effectiveness is checked by the evaluation of three loess – paleosol profiles in Vojvodina, from the Geoheritage List of Serbia. The differences between the models are influenced by the degree of accuracy in the assessment, where for some models, the criteria is not clear when assigning the ratings.