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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

Half cultivated garden in a doline (foreground). Livestock is still kept in this landscape, as evidenced by the presence of tracks and a pen (arrows). Petrov Do, 14/08/2013
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Fig5: Half cultivated garden in a doline (foreground). Livestock is still kept in this landscape, as evidenced by the presence of tracks and a pen (arrows). Petrov Do, 14/08/2013

Mentions: The altitude determines the presence of katuns and thereby land abandonment, as these elevated areas often were abandoned first. For example, the katuns of Praćevac are at the first level partially (Fig. 4) and at the second level, totally abandoned and overgrown. Furthermore, the often mentioned hotter, dryer and longer summers cause more dry soils nowadays. In parts of the Montenegrin karst region, water has always been the main restriction for agriculture as cultivable soil is very scarce and thus all small fertile grounds (dolines) were (and still are) well maintained (as in Petrov Do, Fig. 5). Other areas (as Godinje and Gornji Brčeli) have springs and more fertile soils, which became quickly overgrown due to bad maintenance and abandonment. Usually, the best grounds are being kept, while less fertile lands had been abandoned or exchanged. In Bosača, the latter was done with lands in Pitomine (a neighbouring village), which have a lower soil quality. Also, the slope gradient influences the land abandonment. In several villages, interviewees told that abandoned and overgrown lands are mainly situated on steep slopes, while these areas were traditionally meant for grasslands (rather than croplands).Fig. 4


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

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

Half cultivated garden in a doline (foreground). Livestock is still kept in this landscape, as evidenced by the presence of tracks and a pen (arrows). Petrov Do, 14/08/2013
© Copyright Policy - OpenAccess
Related In: Results  -  Collection

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

Fig5: Half cultivated garden in a doline (foreground). Livestock is still kept in this landscape, as evidenced by the presence of tracks and a pen (arrows). Petrov Do, 14/08/2013
Mentions: The altitude determines the presence of katuns and thereby land abandonment, as these elevated areas often were abandoned first. For example, the katuns of Praćevac are at the first level partially (Fig. 4) and at the second level, totally abandoned and overgrown. Furthermore, the often mentioned hotter, dryer and longer summers cause more dry soils nowadays. In parts of the Montenegrin karst region, water has always been the main restriction for agriculture as cultivable soil is very scarce and thus all small fertile grounds (dolines) were (and still are) well maintained (as in Petrov Do, Fig. 5). Other areas (as Godinje and Gornji Brčeli) have springs and more fertile soils, which became quickly overgrown due to bad maintenance and abandonment. Usually, the best grounds are being kept, while less fertile lands had been abandoned or exchanged. In Bosača, the latter was done with lands in Pitomine (a neighbouring village), which have a lower soil quality. Also, the slope gradient influences the land abandonment. In several villages, interviewees told that abandoned and overgrown lands are mainly situated on steep slopes, while these areas were traditionally meant for grasslands (rather than croplands).Fig. 4

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