Landscape Quality Assessment in Almăj Land Rural System from the Mountainous Banat (Romania), during the 1990-2010 period
Abstract: Almăj Land represents one of the “land” types of territorial entities from Romania and the only one of this type from the Mountainous Banat. It is a purely rural regional system where the hierarchy and the centrality are the two defining attributes for the 31 villages that represent the region’s habitat component. The geographic location of Almăj Land constitutes the main element of restrictiveness regarding the region’s development and the setting of the interrelations with the neighboring regional systems, aspect that has recorded the region in the category of the mountainous rural landscape. For this reason, the economic practices are not very diversified, being based only on the revaluation of the local resources (especially forests and agricultural resources). This has accelerated the anthropogenic impact on its landscape and components, causing transformations in the typology of the rural landscapes. The changes occurred were identified following the calculation of several indicators of landscape quality assessment for a period of 20 years, choosing 2010 as the reference year.. The results obtained (the naturality index – 0.56, population density 15.1 inhabitant/km², the human pressure through agricultural – 2.84 ha/inhabitant, non-agricultural lands – 4.54 ha/inhabitant and forests – 4.35 ha/inhabitant, the environmental transformation indicator 1.5) present the current state of the environment, practically emphasizing the more and more obvious anthropization of the mountainous rural landscape after the change of the political regime and the transition to the market economy, especially through massive deforestation. The evaluation of the current condition of the landscape quality and of the changes in the landscape of the study area, should have a very important role for the mountainous rural community, in order to identify several protection measures of the ecosystems for the assurance of the sustainable development process, especially of the forest ecosystems, which are the most affected and the most important for maintaining ecological balance.