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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

Participants as key informants of their own settlement area. a Interviewee showing a karst phenomenom on his property, Orahovo, 10/08/2013. b Interviewee showing her earlier cultivated area, Oblatno, 13/08/2013. c Interviewee showing the forest around his house, Petrov Do, 14/08/2013. d The typical informal setting for the conduction of interviews, Petrov Do, 14/08/2013
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Fig2: Participants as key informants of their own settlement area. a Interviewee showing a karst phenomenom on his property, Orahovo, 10/08/2013. b Interviewee showing her earlier cultivated area, Oblatno, 13/08/2013. c Interviewee showing the forest around his house, Petrov Do, 14/08/2013. d The typical informal setting for the conduction of interviews, Petrov Do, 14/08/2013

Mentions: Semi-structured interviews have been conducted to gather first-hand information about land use/cover changes and thus land abandonment over time. The used questionnaire comprised six main topics: the basic characteristics of interviewees, agricultural situation and ecosystem services (both nowadays as in the past), aspects of land cover/use change (including matters as vegetation overgrowth and changes in the agricultural system, landscape and infrastructure), some physical geographical processes (like climate change and erosion), personal view and migration. Specific defined questions such as “How much livestock do you have now?” were not aimed at obtaining exact quantitative data but at facilitating answers and getting an idea about magnitudes. The questions ranged from completely open-ended to more narrow (although still open-ended). Participants were not forced to stick to the sequence of questions to prevent interruptions of their narratives. The used approach offers space to both theoretical ideas and empirical findings: the structure ensures the discussion of preconceived topics, while interviewees still have latitude to bring new aspects to the study (Galletta 2013). Interviewees were considered experts of their environment (Fagerholm et al. 2012) and the way of interviewing them provoked ‘oral histories’ (stories about specific memories related to the landscape), which helped to notice key periods of change, motivations, meanings and lifestyles (Galletta 2013). When possible, walks with informants were carried out to let them show interesting phenomena on the field (Fig. 2). Two to five interviews have been executed per settlement, until major study questions were answered (Neuman 2003). In total, 40 different (individual or group) interviews have been undertaken. As knowledge about landscape changes through recent history was required, mainly elderly people have been interviewed; approximately 70 % was older than 60 years.Fig. 2


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

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

Participants as key informants of their own settlement area. a Interviewee showing a karst phenomenom on his property, Orahovo, 10/08/2013. b Interviewee showing her earlier cultivated area, Oblatno, 13/08/2013. c Interviewee showing the forest around his house, Petrov Do, 14/08/2013. d The typical informal setting for the conduction of interviews, Petrov Do, 14/08/2013
© Copyright Policy - OpenAccess
Related In: Results  -  Collection

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

Fig2: Participants as key informants of their own settlement area. a Interviewee showing a karst phenomenom on his property, Orahovo, 10/08/2013. b Interviewee showing her earlier cultivated area, Oblatno, 13/08/2013. c Interviewee showing the forest around his house, Petrov Do, 14/08/2013. d The typical informal setting for the conduction of interviews, Petrov Do, 14/08/2013
Mentions: Semi-structured interviews have been conducted to gather first-hand information about land use/cover changes and thus land abandonment over time. The used questionnaire comprised six main topics: the basic characteristics of interviewees, agricultural situation and ecosystem services (both nowadays as in the past), aspects of land cover/use change (including matters as vegetation overgrowth and changes in the agricultural system, landscape and infrastructure), some physical geographical processes (like climate change and erosion), personal view and migration. Specific defined questions such as “How much livestock do you have now?” were not aimed at obtaining exact quantitative data but at facilitating answers and getting an idea about magnitudes. The questions ranged from completely open-ended to more narrow (although still open-ended). Participants were not forced to stick to the sequence of questions to prevent interruptions of their narratives. The used approach offers space to both theoretical ideas and empirical findings: the structure ensures the discussion of preconceived topics, while interviewees still have latitude to bring new aspects to the study (Galletta 2013). Interviewees were considered experts of their environment (Fagerholm et al. 2012) and the way of interviewing them provoked ‘oral histories’ (stories about specific memories related to the landscape), which helped to notice key periods of change, motivations, meanings and lifestyles (Galletta 2013). When possible, walks with informants were carried out to let them show interesting phenomena on the field (Fig. 2). Two to five interviews have been executed per settlement, until major study questions were answered (Neuman 2003). In total, 40 different (individual or group) interviews have been undertaken. As knowledge about landscape changes through recent history was required, mainly elderly people have been interviewed; approximately 70 % was older than 60 years.Fig. 2

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