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Factors of land abandonment in mountainous Mediterranean areas: the case of Montenegrin settlements.

Kerckhof A, Spalevic V, Van Eetvelde V, Nyssen J - Springerplus (2016)

Bottom Line: The category of extensified settlements is characterized by a highly reduced agricultural management intensity, resulting in an increase in grasslands and fruit trees at the expense of cropland.Such extensive land use is found in both permanently inhabited and abandoned villages.Land use intensification takes place in low-lying areas located nearby towns.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Geography, Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium.

ABSTRACT
Land use changes have been investigated in the surroundings of 14 rural Montenegrin settlements in order to get specific information about trends in land abandonment since around 1950. Permanently, seasonally and less inhabited settlements with different geographic conditions were studied. This was done by interviewing local inhabitants, which enabled a holistic approach to reveal the underlying processes of land abandonment. According to the observed patterns of land use change, the study sites can be categorized into intensified, urbanized, extensified, overgrown and forested cases. The category of extensified settlements is characterized by a highly reduced agricultural management intensity, resulting in an increase in grasslands and fruit trees at the expense of cropland. This land use change is mainly related to emigrating and aging inhabitants, having less livestock. Such extensive land use is found in both permanently inhabited and abandoned villages. Only some studied settlements became largely overgrown by bushes and forest. The steep average slope gradients and a large distance to the nearest city are explanatory factors of such land abandonment. Land use intensification takes place in low-lying areas located nearby towns.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus

Selected settlements by cluster of housing type situated within distinct geomorphologic regions and with a range of altitudes and distances to the nearest town. Source geomorphic regions by Frankl et al. (2016)
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Fig1: Selected settlements by cluster of housing type situated within distinct geomorphologic regions and with a range of altitudes and distances to the nearest town. Source geomorphic regions by Frankl et al. (2016)

Mentions: Montenegro is situated in Southeast Europe along the Adriatic Sea and within the Dinaric Alps, a Western Balkan mountain range comprising mainly NW–SE oriented ridges (Kranjc 2008). The small (13,812 km2) country can be divided in seven geomorphological regions (Frankl et al. 2016; Fig. 1). The narrow coastal zone mainly contains small beaches with steep limestone slopes rising to average heights of 800 m, a ria coast centered on Boka Kotorska and a large debris cone near Albania on which sand beaches developed (Nyssen et al. 2014). NE of this zone lies the high karst zone: a dry Cretaceous limestone plateau characterized by karst phenomena, where the only fertile lands occur in poljes. This region is incised by the inland depression, which extends about 60 km in NW–SE direction (Mugoša 2008). It is mainly filled with Quaternary materials and comprises the polje of Nikšić, the area around the meandering river Zeta, the capital Podgorica, the lowland of Zeta Plain and Skadar Lake. Parallel with this zone the elevated Durmitor Flysch region is situated (often higher than 2000 m) with a relatively soft lithology dominated by sandstones, siltstones, marls and conglomerates. Furthermore, the Prokletije contains a varied geology (of schists, sand- and limestone, dolomites, volcanic outcrops, …) with glacial geomorphic features. The highest parts of this mountainous region extend to Kosovo and especially Albania. Within Montenegro, the Northwestern Highlands contain most peaks (with Bobotov Kuk being the highest: 2523 m a.s.l.) and plateaus. This region mainly contains limestone, its geomorphology is determined by a combination of glacial and karst processes (Annys et al. 2014). In the north, the Tara canyon marks the border with the Northern crystalline hills, which covers a large part of the country along the NE border and it mainly comprises flysch and sandstone sediments: softer materials forming an undulating landscape.Fig. 1


Factors of land abandonment in mountainous Mediterranean areas: the case of Montenegrin settlements.

Kerckhof A, Spalevic V, Van Eetvelde V, Nyssen J - Springerplus (2016)

Selected settlements by cluster of housing type situated within distinct geomorphologic regions and with a range of altitudes and distances to the nearest town. Source geomorphic regions by Frankl et al. (2016)
© Copyright Policy - OpenAccess
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4837754&req=5

Fig1: Selected settlements by cluster of housing type situated within distinct geomorphologic regions and with a range of altitudes and distances to the nearest town. Source geomorphic regions by Frankl et al. (2016)
Mentions: Montenegro is situated in Southeast Europe along the Adriatic Sea and within the Dinaric Alps, a Western Balkan mountain range comprising mainly NW–SE oriented ridges (Kranjc 2008). The small (13,812 km2) country can be divided in seven geomorphological regions (Frankl et al. 2016; Fig. 1). The narrow coastal zone mainly contains small beaches with steep limestone slopes rising to average heights of 800 m, a ria coast centered on Boka Kotorska and a large debris cone near Albania on which sand beaches developed (Nyssen et al. 2014). NE of this zone lies the high karst zone: a dry Cretaceous limestone plateau characterized by karst phenomena, where the only fertile lands occur in poljes. This region is incised by the inland depression, which extends about 60 km in NW–SE direction (Mugoša 2008). It is mainly filled with Quaternary materials and comprises the polje of Nikšić, the area around the meandering river Zeta, the capital Podgorica, the lowland of Zeta Plain and Skadar Lake. Parallel with this zone the elevated Durmitor Flysch region is situated (often higher than 2000 m) with a relatively soft lithology dominated by sandstones, siltstones, marls and conglomerates. Furthermore, the Prokletije contains a varied geology (of schists, sand- and limestone, dolomites, volcanic outcrops, …) with glacial geomorphic features. The highest parts of this mountainous region extend to Kosovo and especially Albania. Within Montenegro, the Northwestern Highlands contain most peaks (with Bobotov Kuk being the highest: 2523 m a.s.l.) and plateaus. This region mainly contains limestone, its geomorphology is determined by a combination of glacial and karst processes (Annys et al. 2014). In the north, the Tara canyon marks the border with the Northern crystalline hills, which covers a large part of the country along the NE border and it mainly comprises flysch and sandstone sediments: softer materials forming an undulating landscape.Fig. 1

Bottom Line: The category of extensified settlements is characterized by a highly reduced agricultural management intensity, resulting in an increase in grasslands and fruit trees at the expense of cropland.Such extensive land use is found in both permanently inhabited and abandoned villages.Land use intensification takes place in low-lying areas located nearby towns.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Geography, Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium.

ABSTRACT
Land use changes have been investigated in the surroundings of 14 rural Montenegrin settlements in order to get specific information about trends in land abandonment since around 1950. Permanently, seasonally and less inhabited settlements with different geographic conditions were studied. This was done by interviewing local inhabitants, which enabled a holistic approach to reveal the underlying processes of land abandonment. According to the observed patterns of land use change, the study sites can be categorized into intensified, urbanized, extensified, overgrown and forested cases. The category of extensified settlements is characterized by a highly reduced agricultural management intensity, resulting in an increase in grasslands and fruit trees at the expense of cropland. This land use change is mainly related to emigrating and aging inhabitants, having less livestock. Such extensive land use is found in both permanently inhabited and abandoned villages. Only some studied settlements became largely overgrown by bushes and forest. The steep average slope gradients and a large distance to the nearest city are explanatory factors of such land abandonment. Land use intensification takes place in low-lying areas located nearby towns.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus