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Über dieses Buch

This second edition of the book Sustainable Development of Mountain Regions: Southeastern Europe integrates the scientific results and expertise of the researchers from the countries in Southeastern Europe. The book consists of updated information for the topics observed in first edition and several new chapters with analysis of some problems in the mountain regions of four new for the edition countries in Southeastern European space. The general themes in the book are related to Global problems and mountain regions; Nature resources and landuse in mountain regions; Social, economic and regional problems of mountain regions; Nature protection, conservation and monitoring and Networks and strategies for mountain regions. The key topics for discussion are:

Natural recourses and land use in mountain regions.Sustainable social and economic development of the mountain regions. Natural disasters and risk prevention.Spatial modeling and planning. Nature protection, monitoring and conservation.Politics and sustainable practices for development of mountain regions.Transborder and regional cooperation.

Mountain regions in Southeastern Europe are characterized by unique landscape and biological diversity and great economic potential. They have function as a living space and provide different groups of ecosystem and landscape services. In social and economic aspects these regions are one of the poorest in Southeastern European countries with unused potential. Human, ecological and economic problems arising in various mountain regions have the same basic characteristics irrespective of the country. Some mountain regions are subject to specific for the conditions of the mountain and country policy for planning, development and mountain population promotion. The general goal is development of whole economy and the efficient management of natural resources and prevention of natural and tec

hnological disasters. The mountain regions are one of the most threatened landscape systems in Southeastern Europe. Understanding the importance of the mountain regions and conservation of the natural heritage require scientific and institutional cooperation at all levels.



Global Problems and Mountain Regions


Chapter 1. Scientific Research Basis for Sustainable Development of the Mountain Regions: Main Concepts and Basic Theories

European policy concerning mountain regions aims at achieving sustainability by using cohesion and integration policies, as well as multi-sectoral and regional approaches. Under conditions of global change, the role of scientific research in the implementation of these policies acquires additional importance. Scientific understanding of the theoretical base and the concepts involved would best serve sustainable development policies in the mountain regions. This study provides an overview of definitions of fundamental concepts, such as “sustainability” and “sustainable development,” “multi-disciplinarity,” “inter-disciplinarity,” and “trans-disciplinarity.” Having in mind that diversity and complexity are typical characteristics of mountain areas, both socially and environmentally, this chapter discusses the advantages and drawbacks of implementation of the DPSIR (Driving forces, Pressures, State, Impact, Responses) model and the concepts of ‘multidisciplinary,’ ‘interdisciplinary,’ and ‘transdisciplinary.’ This analysis is expected to support the following conclusions: (1) sustainable development policies must be grounded in the basic concepts of economic theory, including “throughput,” instead of “utility,” and (2) mountain research necessitates transdisciplinary approaches.
Mariyana Nikolova

Chapter 2. Solar Activity, Climate Change, and Natural Disasters in Mountain Regions

Contemporary science is burdened with contradictory, that is, severely opposed attitudes relating to climate changes issues such as global warming. What is undisputable is that if climate changes are more intensive, changes relating to stands of plants are also more intensive. Forest fires are one of the most drastic factors that influence changes of stands of plants in mountain terrains. The damage caused by forest fires destroying forests varies from case to case, but a significant problem occurs in irretrievable losses of soil because of increased erosion, as well as disturbances in underground water circulation. In contrast to plain terrains, mountains are far more sensitive to such disasters, especially when we consider losses in agricultural soil as well as of wildlife. The fact that a direct connection between any of the climate elements and the initial phase of a fire has not been established so far represents a special challenge to science. A new hypothesis is presented in this chapter, which attempts to link the processes on the sun, that is, charged particles (protons and electrons) as potential causes of forest fires of unknown origin.
Milan Radovanovic

Chapter 3. Mass Movement Processes Under Changing Climatic and Socioeconomic Conditions

In recent years, natural hazards have caused increasing damage to infrastructures and human beings in the alpine regions. At the same time, the global mean temperature is rising, but for mass movement processes, there exists no direct connection between these two facts. It is not evident that rising global temperatures will intensify the triggering effect of extreme precipitation everywhere. This will probably vary spatially. In Austria, socioeconomic development has brought about the increase of real values, and the impact of unsustainable land use has often caused higher susceptibilities. Thus, also without adverse “climate change effects,” the risks caused by natural hazards are increasing as a consequence of socioeconomic development. Sustainable spatial planning is required to control further challenges. Databases and methods for hazard and risk assessment have to be adapted to meet its requirements.
Karl Hagen, Peter Andrecs

Nature Resources and Land Use in Mountain Regions


Chapter 4. Mountains and Mountain Regions in Bulgaria

The mountains in Bulgaria occupy almost half of its area (47.54 %). The geographic situation of the country, the present-day differentiation and variety of the relief, and its combination with other natural components affect the economic management of the mountain regions. This research provides a comparative analysis of the changes in the territorial extension of the mountain regions according to the criteria approved in recent years [before and after Bulgaria’s accession to the European Union (EU)]. According to the EU Regulations, the mountain regions are defined as unfavorable, with limited capacities for land use and with higher costs for performing agricultural activities. Among the groups of criteria, set in different normative documents and projects, special attention is paid to the criterion above sea level altitude. The mosaic nature of relief and the great number of landscape types in Bulgaria require that the complex impact of the physical geographic factors should be taken into consideration while determining the lower boundary of the mountain regions. In research work, however, to be in compliance with the aims of each investigation and to achieve unbiased scientific results, we have to observe either the boundaries already specified in the normative documents or the physical geographic borders.
Yulia Kroumova

Chapter 5. The Nature Potential of Mountains in Bulgaria and Its Sustainable Use

Mountain territories, with their inherent various and rich nature conditions and resources, have always been the object not only of scientific but especially of economic interest. They are an object of attention also from the legal-normative point of view, as in both national and international aspects, especially regarding the possibilities for their sustainable development. The rate of their nature potential is determined as a quantitative expression of the combination of conditions and resources that are favorable for the all-around activity of society. Their importance for Bulgaria results not only from the large ratio of the area which they occupy of its whole territory—more than 40 % or even 50 %, according to their boundaries as outlined in the investigations of different authors—but also from their large nature potential. The mountains dominate the country’s ratio of mineral resources (fuel, metal, and non-metalliferous) at more than 80 %; of water resources, at more than 80 %, as well as 70 % from the storage water capacity in a total of 700 large, middle-sized, and small dams, and more than 70 % of the mineral water fields; the forest resources, more than 70 %, as well as two thirds of the plants in Bulgaria; and also considerable resources of game, wild fruits, herbs, mushrooms, etc. The mountain space of Bulgaria also contains a large ratio of the demographic settlement and economic land structures; for example, about 30 % from the population and more than 55 % from the settlements, as the number of municipalities in the mountain regions is more than 140 (from a total of 260 in Bulgaria); about 65 % from the areas for cultivation of tobacco and potatoes; more than 85 % of the meadow areas; and more than 70 % of pasture grounds in the country, etc.
Marina Yordanova, Zoya Mateeva

Chapter 6. Morphometry and Land Use on High Mountains in the Republic of Macedonia

In this chapter, basic morphometric (geomorphometric) characteristics and their influence on the land use of high mountains in the Republic of Macedonia are presented. Morphometric elements are computed from specially prepared 15-m DEM of the Republic of Macedonia instead of the 3″SRTM DEM (v4; Jarvis et al., 2008) model used in a previous edition. Special attention is given to hypsometry, slopes, and aspects that are characteristic for each mountain. Land use is calculated from Corine Land Cover (this time, CLC2006) data and the appropriate raster map with 100-m resolution, according to the CLC land cover categorization. Land use patterns on the high mountains are analyzed in respect to hypsometry, slopes, and aspects, finding large differences in all these elements. Some of these differences are the result of anthropogenic influences and human impact on the landscape, which is also highly influenced by topography. That fact must be taken into account considering the sustainable development of mountain areas, especially with regard to accelerated erosion and overall landscape degradation.
Ivica Milevski

Chapter 7. Usage of the Mountain Areas in the Republic of Macedonia

According to the geomorphological structure of the relief in the Republic of Macedonia, mountain areas (along with the frontiers of displaced villages) cover about 47.6 % of the total area. Almost 25 % of the total number of village settlements in the country are in this territory, but only 9.5 % of the total village population recorded in 2002 in the Republic of Macedonia lives in the mountains. In the past 50 years, there has been a rapid decline of the population in mountain areas. As a result, in 2002, 47 village settlements in the mountains had been displaced, and the population density was barely 10 people per square kilometer (km2). In favor of this is that in 2002 there had been 1.2 ha arable land per person, which is double in comparison to 1961. The negative usage of farmlands was seen especially in the villages of up to 300 people, with 5.2 ha per person. These villages have mostly single-person and aged households. At the same time, although mountainous areas have conditions to develop other activities, such as mining and various types of tourism, they are not adequately used.
Mirjanka Madzevic, Biljana Apostolovska Toshevska

Chapter 8. Physical Geographic Characteristics and Sustainable Development of the Mountain Area in Montenegro

Montenegro is located in the Balkan Penninsula, which is extremely mountainous country. More than two thirds of the total area is mountainous. There are four macro relief units in the mountain area: mountain plains, valleys (canyons and gorges), basins, and mountains. A very dynamic physical geographic basis (geology, geomorphology, climate, hydrology) enabled the diversity and rich natural potential resorts to be formed in the mountain area in Montenegro. In the past 50 years, new industries have appeared: mining, metallurgy, energy production, traffic, and tourism, and their development has led to endangered, devastated, and polluted environments in the mountain area of Montenegro.
Predrag Djurović, Mirela Djurović

Chapter 9. Climate Variability, Soil, and Forest Ecosystem Diversity of the Dinaric Mountains

The Dinaric mountains in Croatia present one of the hot spots of European biodiversity, possessing a very large number of species and hosting most endemics. The Dinaric mountains in Croatia strongly affect the climate of the Adriatic region, making a distinct boundary between the maritime and a continental climate. In this chapter, an overview of climatic conditions of the Dinaric area is provided, including observed climatic changes of temperatures and precipitation in the last century. Existing soil types were assessed and described, in particular with respect to soil-forming processes. The role of climate as a dominant factor of soil formation was evaluated in relationship to other factors such as lithology and topography. Also, the occurrence of a specific broad range of forest associations in Dinarides was presented. We examined the correspondence between forest vegetation, soil, and climatic properties in the Dinaric area. As a finale, some future, very possible scenarios of regional climatic development are presented as a serious hazard to the sustainability of natural forest resources. We determined the variety of soil types, ranging from soils that are characteristic for Mediterranean (on limestone) such as Terra rossa with intensive red color, calcomelanosols and calcicambisols in high karst, to soils characteristic for continental climate (on flint or silica) such as dystric cambisols and luvisols. The forest vegetation of the Dinaric mountains constitutes 54 diverse forest ecosystem types, encompassing specific combinations of soil and phytocoenoses. Existing ecosystems form nine broader groups, that is, bioclimates, which are typical for Dinarides.
Ivan Pilaš, Jasna Medak, Boris Vrbek, Ivan Medved, Ksenija Cindrić, Marijana Gajić-Čapka, Melita Perčec Tadić, Mirta Patarčić, Čedo Branković, Ivan Güttler

Chapter 10. Assessment of Greek Forests Protection and Management

Forests perform multiple and intertwined social, economic, and environmental functions. Greek forests are complex biotic communities, characterized by trees, and encompassing much of the life on Earth. Efficient forest management strategies should be formed to consider the future forest dynamics to achieve important management objectives such as biodiversity conservation preserving ecological functions and countering climate change. Greek forests have long been threatened by a variety of destructive agents. The greatest problem for Greek forests is the lack of management. In Greece, during past years, serious natural disasters have occurred, associated with fires and floods that are inextricably linked to its geographic location, geology, geomorphology, vegetation, and the prevailing climatic conditions. Hence, restoration of forest ecosystems is of great importance and a main environmental issue in Greece. Efforts of restoration are based on earlier empirical techniques, which were later improved, and supported by scientific research. The selection of a suitable method and its implementation demands deeper knowledge of natural ecosystem functions and of the physiology of diverse organisms. Moreover, a versatile, and interscientific approach is required, coordinated with the direction of the goals and objectives of the restoration, individual actions, utilization of research results, usage and improvement of technologies, as well as the creation, improvement, and development of infrastructure.
Alexandra D. Solomou, George Karetsos, Elpiniki Skoufogianni, Konstantinos Martinos, Athanasios Sfougaris, Konstantinia Tsagari

Chapter 11. Mapping Forest Fragmentation Based on Morphological Image Analysis of Mountain Regions in Bulgaria and Slovakia

Forest landscapes are at high risk of fragmentation as a result of changes in land cover and land use, which affect habitat loss and degradation. Therefore, it is essential in the forest management and biodiversity policy context to monitor and assess forest fragmentation using reliable data from remote sensing and GIS. This chapter focuses on the assessment and mapping forest fragmentation in two mountain regions in Bulgaria (part of the Eastern Rhodopes Mountain) and in Slovakia (the Tatra Mountains). The aim is to point out the correlation between the observed land cover changes during the 22-year period from 1990 to 2012 and forest fragmentation, which affects loss of biodiversity. The landscape fragmentation tool (LFT v2.0) was used to map the forest fragmentation and to analyze the forest pattern. The results indicate more significant forest fragmentation in the Tatra Mountains and decrease of the compact forest areas (i.e., core forest) in both mountain regions. The main causes for forest fragmentation were natural disasters and human activities. Generated maps identify areas in which to focus management efforts aimed at minimizing forest fragmentation.
Rumiana Vatseva, Monika Kopecka, Jozef Novacek

Chapter 12. Evaluation of the Avalanche Danger in Northwest Rila Mountain

This chapter considers the conditions determining avalanche formation and action in Northwest Rila. It provides an analysis of the current morphosculptural impact of avalanches on the alpine and subalpine mountain zones. The most hazardous avalanche terrains are also specified.
Krasimir Stoyanov

Chapter 13. Management of Snow Avalanche Risk in the Ski Areas of the Southern Carpathians–Romanian Carpathians

Snow avalanches represent an undeniable reality in the Southern Carpathians, both as a geomorphological process and as a type of natural hazard with the highest number of fatalities and injuries, and also substantial impact upon forests, highways, and people. This study focuses on the Făgăraş massif and on the Bucegi Mountains, representative mountain units in the eastern part of the Southern Carpathians with altitudes surpassing 2500 m, large quantities of snowfall, between 6 and 8 months/year of soil with snow cover, or even 10–11 months/year at high elevations, and a high occurrence of snow avalanches. The importance of management of snow avalanche risk resides in the fact that these mountains have important winter tourism activities. Today, the main management measures on snow avalanche risk are preventive temporary or permanent measures, passive and active defense points of intervention, temporary closure of ski pistes, and the issuance of danger level.
Mircea Voiculescu, Florentina Popescu

Chapter 14. Landscape Structure and Ecosystem Services of Etropole Municipality

This chapter represents an approach to investigate the landscape structure at municipality level and the possibilities of using it for evaluation of ecosystem services. Landscape differentiation of the area was investigated using a GIS-based model. The most important ecosystem services of the Etropole municipality are provided by the forest landscapes. Only 27 % of their total value belongs to the provisioning service, which is the most used at present. The importance of their regulation services, especially regulation of flood risk, will increase in the future because of climate change. The valuation of ecosystem services is considered as an important and useful activity for the achievement of sustainable development. It gives an opportunity to involve some resources and services that are usually ignored in the process of regional planning. Further progress of the valuation and assessment methods will improve their preciseness and reliability.
Stoyan Nedkov

Social, Economic and Regional Problems of Mountain Regions


Chapter 15. Demographic Potential and Problems of the Settlements Network in the Mountains of Bulgaria

Mountainous areas cover approximately 47.8 % of Bulgarian territory. Those areas are comparatively densely populated; the settlement network is well developed, and some 1.938 million people (25.4 % of the total population) live there (2007). However, there have been strong trends of population decline for reasons of natural decrease, aging, and emigration. The average birth rates are lower than the national average, although the death rate levels and the natural increase are similar to the national averages. In many mountainous areas, emigration exceeds admissible proportions and results in inexcusable decrease of population numbers as well as deterioration of the age structure. Most of the mountainous settlements are small. However, all larger and medium-sized urban settlements, as well as some of the small towns, have comparatively well-developed socioeconomic potential, enough arable lands and conditions for tourism and recreational activities, and usable housing.
Chavdar Mladenov

Chapter 16. Demographic Limits to Sustainable Development of Mountain Regions in Serbia

Intense industrialization of Serbia during the period of socialist Yugoslavia induced voluminous internal migration, mainly from villages to the fast-growing industrial centers, which resulted in a disturbed sex composition of the current population in the prime reproductive ages (20–39 years) at the settlement level of the country. As a result, both agrarian zones of young men surplus and urban “oases” of young women surplus jointly reinforce the processes of demographic aging and poverty in Serbia, despite the goals of policy makers presented through crucial national strategies regarding sustainable development of the country. The rural zones with a deficit of young women, which are predominantly border and mountain regions, are the first to experience the negative effects of the prevailing demographic trend in the future. Some of the findings in this chapter point to the typical positive feedback loop “population–poverty” as the intrinsic mechanism of persistent “highlands to lowlands” migration. Finally, the probabilistic population projection of mountain regions in Serbia indicates decreasing and aging of its population as an inevitable and dominant demographic process in the next few decades. These tendencies could be substantial obstacles to efforts in achieving sustainable development of Serbia’s mountain regions.
Vladimir Nikitović

Chapter 17. Changes in the Ethnic and Demographic Profile of the Population in Eastern Stara Planina Region

This chapter focuses on the ethnic groups of the population in the Eastern Stara Planina region, the changes in their spatial distribution and population numbers during the period between 1965 and 2001. This region is one of the regions in Bulgaria with a significant concentration of ethnic Turks and a Roma population, which greatly affects the demographic, social, and economic profile of the region. The region is also important from the NATURA 2000 point of view because vast areas in Eastern Stara Planina Mountain are protected areas according to (in most cases) both NATURA 2000 directives. The specific features of the ethnic and cultural development of ethnic groups influence their reproduction and migration behavior in various ways. The dynamics and spatial distribution of the ethnic Bulgarians are also described. The main factors for the changes in population numbers are outlined. The chosen period is set between the three most representative, in terms of ethnicity, censuses in Bulgaria, that is, 1965, 1992, and 2001, which define important subperiods of changes in the ethnic structure of the population in Bulgaria in past decades.
Nadezhda Ilieva, Boris Kazakov

Chapter 18. Small Urban Centers in the Alps and Their Development Issues

Mountainous areas are by default physically unsuitable for larger urban agglomerations, yet are nevertheless urbanized to a substantial extent. This chapter describes the development of such urbanized areas, the small urban centers (towns) in the Alps.
Inner Alpine areas are increasingly “threatened” by expanding suburbanization processes from pre-alpine mega-agglomerations (Milan, Turin, Munich, Vienna, Zurich, etc.), which have a damaging impact on the Alpine settlement structure. This chapter focuses on smaller and peripheral towns in the Alps that provide a backbone of social, economic, and cultural activities. Thanks to the physical structure of the Alps, the landscape is dominated by smaller settlements, which have important central functions for large mountainous areas. These small urban centers therefore are important as generators of Alpine economic and social capital.
The Alps thus reflect duality: on the one hand, some well-connected valley regions experience rapid development, which is often associated with the suburbanization of pre-alpine metropolitan areas, and on the other hand there are areas that are no longer attractive to people and capital and are thus subject to depopulation. As is the case elsewhere in Europe, the urbanization of the Alps keeps changing, especially in response to the impact of economic structural changes.
David Bole, Janez Nared, Matija Zorn

Chapter 19. Impact of Macroeconomic Changes and Property Rights on Forest Degradation, Land Use, and Environmental Situation in Albania

During the past 20 years, Albania has moved from being a predominately rural society to one in which the majority of the population lives in urban areas. This population movement fueled rapid urban development and at the same time led to absentee landownership in rural areas. Albania has among the lowest amount of agricultural land per capita (0.22 ha) in the region. Only 24 % of Albania consists of agricultural land; 36 % is forest, 16 % is meadows and pastures, and 24 % is unproductive land, such as urban land and inland waterways. Environmental changes are linked to land reform. Conversion of agricultural land to residential plots has increased in Albania as a consequence of land privatization and decentralization. The land reform in Albania was constructed at the national level. The decision of the Albanian government to redistribute the land on a per capita basis was framed by political and economic considerations. From a global perspective, the effects of forest degradation and forest cover loss on biodiversity may be significant, as Albania is located within the Mediterranean Basin, which is recognized as a global biodiversity hotspot in terms of endemic flora and fauna species. The loss of cropland and forest cover in Albania indicates that the transition and the associated macroeconomic recession led to dramatic changes in the landscape. The main objective of the proposed chapter is to identify the relationship between land reforms, land tenure, and macroeconomic changes on forest degradation and land use and environmental impact in Albania. This chapter provides a conceptual framework for understanding the relationship between land tenure, property rights, land reform, and environmental impact as well as forest quality in Albania during the post-socialist period. A systems approach is used to describe land use changes in Albania, addressing the complex and dynamic nature of the relationships among the subject matter areas.
Fatbardh Sallaku, Odeta Tota, Bujar Huqi, Etleva Jojic, Enkeleda Emiri, Shkelqim Fortuzi

Chapter 20. Sustainable Development in the Eastern Black Sea Mountains: Present State and Perspectives

The Eastern Black Sea Region of Turkey, with a mountainous coastline of 39,203 km2 (5.1 % of the country) and population of 3.2 million (2000 census), has the highest peaks (above 3900 m) in the central part of the region. Annual rainfall in the coastal areas ranges from 2000 to 2500 mm resulting in most dense forests in the region. Natural features in the Eastern Black Sea region make living conditions harsh; in addition, the area is difficult to access because of its distance from developed areas and an insufficient infrastructure. The mountain areas in this region suffer from lack of adequate basic services such as transportation, communication, education, and healthcare (Somuncu and İnci 2004). Mountains in the Eastern Black Sea Region are less developed areas. As a result of inadequate incomes and limited availability of basic services such as transportation, health services, and education, local people have been continuously migrating from mountains since the 1950s. Sustainable development is needed to reduce and stop emigrations from the region.
Mehmet Somuncu

Chapter 21. Regional Differences and Regional Planning of Economic Activities in Bosnia and Herzegovina

In this chapter, regional differences as an indicator in regional development of Bosnia and Herzegovina have been studied. In this regard, economic development of new economic activities and contemporary activities, particularly development and structure of work function, are discussed. Unequal regional development in Bosnia and Herzegovina is a regularity of economic development, which is particularly expressed, at certain developmental stages, in polarization of population and income.
Rahman Nurković, Haris Jahić

Nature Protection, Conservation and Monitoring


Chapter 22. Applying Integrated Nature Conservation Management: Using Visitor Management and Monitoring to Handle Conflicts Between Winter Recreation and Grouse Species in Berchtesgaden National Park

Modern nature conservation management needs to interface between recreational interests and the objectives of conservation. Here, visitor management has a key role. However, the successful implementation of measures, which today need to be holistic, interdisciplinary, and moreover multidisciplinary (i.e., integrated), depends on well-founded data on recreational use and on nature. The data are usually provided by visitor monitoring, which ideally combines data collection methods as well as computer-based data handling methods (data modeling, statistical and spatial analysis, visualization etc.). By leveraging GIS, this approach allows identifying and characterizing (existing or possible) impacts of recreational use on the natural ecosystem.
However, combining visitor management and visitor monitoring as well as data collection and computer-based, data handling methods can often be improved to provide a basis for elaborating integrated management strategies. The questions is: How does the integration of visitor management and monitoring as well as the interplay of data collection and computer-based data handling methods appear in practice?
For European mountain protected areas, this is of special importance because mountain regions such as the Alps, the Carpathian Mountains, and the Balkan Mountains are, on the one hand, most important recreational destinations; on the other hand, these are regions that, because of their spectacular scenic beauty and high biodiversity, are a primary target of nature conservation activities in Europe. In response to this demand, this paper aims at answering the afore-outlined question, focusing on handling winter recreation and wildlife protection in the Alpine Berchtesgaden National Park (Germany).
Sabine Hennig, Michaela Künzl

Chapter 23. Environmental Changes in the Maramureş Mountains Natural Park

Maramureş Mountains Natural Park (MMNP) is the biggest protected area in the Romanian Carpathians, located in the north of the Eastern Carpathians along Romania’s border with Ukraine. The Park displays a complex of richly forested mountain summits, a great diversity of ecosystems, and unique landscapes, which have led to its declaration as a protected area, under the Category V IUCN – Protected Landscape-Natural Park, in 2004. This chapter provides an update of the environmental changes related to the main human-induced pressures characteristic for this natural protected area. Although MMNP was declared later than other similar protected areas in the Romanian Carpathians (e.g. Apuseni Natural Park and Bucegi Natural Park, declared in 1990), its rich biodiversity, outstanding landscapes, and cultural heritage are no less significant and valuable. Therefore, the authors are seeking to identify and assess the historical and current human-induced driving forces encountered in MMNP (e.g. settlements expansion, deforestation, overgrazing, mining activities, touristic activities) that have driven the most significant environmental changes in the area (e.g. habitat, fragmentation, biodiversity loss, land use/land cover changes) to prevent their intensification and reduce their negative impact.
Dan Bălteanu, Mihaela Năstase, Monica Dumitraşcu, Ines Grigorescu

Chapter 24. BEO Moussala: Complex for Environmental Studies

The main areas of research at the Basic Environmental Observatory (BEO) Moussala, Rila Mountain, are the aerospace and terrestrial environment. The interactions between cosmic rays and the Earth’s atmosphere, global change parameters and climate research, and natural hazards and technological risks are the objectives of the investigations.
Real-time measurements of basic parameters of space and atmosphere are carried out. The information is transmitted via a high-frequency radio-telecommunication system to the Internet and is stored in a database for further analysis within GAW, EURDEP, EUSAAR (ACTRIS), RECETOX, and UNBSS international networks.
On-line data and detailed information about BEO Moussala are available at: http://​beo-db.​inrne.​bas.​bg
In 2014, the scientific research carried out at peak Moussala celebrated its 55th anniversary.
Christo Angelov, Nina Nikolova, Todor Arsov, Ivo Kalapov, Assen Tchorbadjieff, Ilia Penev, Ivo Angelov

Chapter 25. Research of Field Evidence for Late Quaternary Climate Changes in the Highest Mountains of Bulgaria

The highest Bulgarian mountains, Rila (2925 m a.s.l.) and Pirin (2914 m a.s.l.), provide groups of relatively well preserved glacial landforms from late Pleistocene and Holocene cold phases, several small recent perennial ice features, and still well preserved forest ecosystems at the tree limit that can serve as a source for valuable environmental records. Results of our latest studies show that in Rila valley glaciers reached their largest extent during the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) stage (23,000–19,000 BP), when the Equilibrium Line Altitude of the glaciers was at around 2150–2250 m a.s.l. and the longest glacier tongues went down to 1150–1200 m a.s.l. Traces from several stages of glacier retreat were also found and described.
Another important aspect of environmental change consists of the observation of current environmental phenomena to evaluate local climate change during the past decades and at present. This chapter presents some of the results of research efforts in this field that have been achieved up to the present.
One of the aims of this chapter is to propose incorporation of high mountain environmental change research from all the interested Balkan countries in a network for regional studies and modeling, and, if possible, to establish a workgroup dedicated to this topic.
Emil Gachev

Networks and Strategies for Mountain Regions


Chapter 26. Models and Strategies for Sustainable Management of Mountain Territories in Central and Southeastern Europe

This chapter describes strategies for sustainable management, development, and use of the potential of mountainous areas in Central and Southeastern Europe. The research concentrates the experience of single countries or groups of countries connected with organization and optimization of human activities in various economic areas. Interaction between different programs or initiatives is a key moment for Balkan countries in determination and foundation of the Balkan convention for sustainable development of mountain regions. We have a good experience of the Alpine Convention and relevant experience with the Carpathian Convention as an example.
Georgi Zhelezov

Chapter 27. Science Networks for Global Change in Mountain Regions: The Mountain Research Initiative

The Mountain Research Initiative (MRI) promotes and coordinates research on global change in mountain regions around the world. In its eight years of existence it has actively participated in the design of an international research agenda. The Global Change and Mountain Regions (GLOCHAMORE) Research Strategy, a product stemming from an FP6 Support Action, is at the core of the MRI. It identifies gaps and formulates priorities for future activities in mountain research. Through its regional networks, MRI catalyzes the interdisciplinary research described in the GLOCHAMORE Strategy. Within the European network, the recent establishment of the Science for the Carpathians (S4C) initiative is an encouraging signal for the strong will and interest of research communities to steer mountain research toward international and interdisciplinary collaboration. Mountain scientists working in the Balkan Region could take the Carpathian initiative as an example to build up a science network in and for Southeastern Europe.
Astrid Björnsen Gurung


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