Using CORINE data to look at deforestation in Romania: Distribution & possible consequences

Alexandru-Ionuţ Petrişor

Rezumat/Abstract. Even though land cover and use changes, climate changes and altered use of energy, known together as the ‘global changes’ have been studied intensively, their relationships are still under debate, especially with respect of assessing the anthropogenic contribution. The study relies on the hypothesis according to which poverty and lack of environmental awareness could lead to disastrous environmental impacts, with adverse economic consequences. Starting from an assessment of deforestations based on CORINE data and the spatial distribution of floods and landslides, this study used spatial analyses, including kriging-based interpolation, to investigate the spatial pattern of deforestations and its relationships with the spatial distribution of floods, landslides, and natural protected sites. The results show that nearly 7.5 km2 of forests (0.81% of total forested area) were cut down during 1990-2000 and 5.7 (1.06%) during 2000-2006. The percentages of deforested areas per administrative unit ranged between 0 and 83.8 during 1990-2000 and between 0 and 95.9 during 2000-2006. The peaks of distribution coincide with the poorest areas, suggesting an inverse correlation between environmental awareness and poverty. Furthermore, the peaks of floods and landslides appeared to be surrounded by massively deforested areas; while spatial proximity cannot be solely used to ascertain causality, a certain correlation is suggested by the exploratory analyses. Last but not least, peaks of deforestation are situated within protected areas; since the protection status occurred later, these findings raise questions on the effectiveness of protection. Overall, while the limitations of spatial analyses do not allow from proving causality, the results show that deforestations could be the cause of floods and landslides, and certainly amplified their effects, supporting the underlying hypothesis.

Cuvinte cheie/Key words: climate change, natural hazards, GIS, poverty, natural protected sites

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