Quantification of the aridity process in South-Western Romania
© Peptenatu et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. 2013
Received: 17 September 2012
Accepted: 11 May 2013
Published: 24 May 2013
The report released by the Intergovernmental Committee for Climate Change indicates that Romania ranks among the top seven countries in Europe that would be strongly impacted by aridity in the next few years, with climate changes consisting in a rise of average annual temperatures by as much as 5°C. The research work was conducted in the South of the Oltenia South-Western Development Region, where more than 700,000 hectares of farmland is impacted by aridification, more than 100,000 hectares among them impacted by aridity. Research methodology encompassed the analysis of average annual temperatures over the time span data was available for, at three weather stations, an analysis of average annual precipitations, an analysis of the piezometric data, the evolution of land use as a result of the expansion of the aridity process. The assessment of the aridity process also involved taking into consideration the state of the vegetation by means of the normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI), used to assess the quality of the vegetal stratum, an important element in the complex analysis of the territory. The aridity process is an effect of global warming, and, based on the results of this study, the post-1990 escalation of its effects was brought about by socio-economic factors. The destruction of the irrigation systems and protective forest belts because of the uncertain situation of land ownership are the main factors that contributed to amplification of the effects of aridity on the efficiency of agricultural systems that nowadays are exposed to very high risks.
KeywordsAridity Desertification Fragile environments Territorial management
Romania faces nowadays the obvious consequences of the aridification process on large tracts of land in the South and the East; for that reason, the United Nations Convention to combat desertification in the countries that face severe drought and/or desertification (Paris 17.06.1994) was ratified by the Law No. 111/1998. According to that document desertification and drought are acknowledged global-scale problems, and concerted actions are needed to cut down their effects at the level of territorial systems.
The analysis of the climate change has an important role due to the different implications on the agricultural systems , in function of the climate conditions, soil characteristics and the territorial systems capacity ability to cope with change [2–4].
The study of the desertification trend developed in many regions of the world plays an important role in the development of some territorial management strategies that are able to assure optimal functioning at the resources level, resources that have a decreasing tendency [5–8].
Materials and methods
This indicator enables an assessment of the quality of the vegetal stratum, an important component in territory planning, assessment of the state of the ecology in urbanized territories, of the evolution of land use, of the aridity process [11, 12].
The comparative analysis of the trends of evolution compared to the multi-annual average values indicates a series of shared characteristics for the three weather stations, the most important – for this study – being the predominance of negative deviations from the mean average until 1985 and the predominance of positive deviations until the present.
The comparison of the general trend and the mean average during the time span analyzed indicates a high frequency of positive-deviation intervals before 1985 and a high frequency of negative deviations after that year.
Changes of smaller intensity, most often with transitions from the dense-vegetation category to the average-density category, but quite vast in size, were registered on the tracts of land with sandy soil in several sectors, in particular East of the Jiu and inside the Danube river bend South of Calafat. These tracts of land tend to be grouped into small, compact areas. This indicates the deterioration of the quality of the vegetal stratum in those respective areas. The soil in those areas, much more fragile because of its texture, becomes much more exposed to aridity processes.
Aridization is a phenomenon which contributes to emphasize the fragility tendencies of the territorial systems. At a structural level, the imbalances generate functional ruptures that hinder the optimal functionality.
The agricultural production systems are the most affected by climate changes, the process of aridization generating significant reductions of agricultural production that depends more and more on climate conditions.
The diminishing of the aridisation effects requires a territorial management strategy that has to take into consideration the complexity of the impact on a short, medium and long term. Also, the decisional impulses have to consider the functional imbalances generated by aridisation at local, regional and macro-system level.
Aridity is a phenomenon that contributes to increasing the fragility of the systems impacted, by multiplying the negative environmental, economic and social effects. Research into the causes that contribute to enhancing those effects is one of the priorities of contemporary society, as interdisciplinary approaches to the complex relations between the components of the territorial systems are one of the major concerns of the scientific world [13–16].
The need to implement territorial management strategies is supported by the important role played by communities in enhancing severe imbalances by wood deforestation and intensive farming on fragile soil. Under those conditions, efficient environment-risk management systems are needed, which should offer solutions to decision-making factors in the communities impacted [17–21]. In numerous regions the process of aridity led to a rise in the value of air-borne dust  in the wake of the destruction of forest vegetation and the draining of large tracts of wetland [23–25].
Territorials administrative units
Normalized Difference Vegetation Index.
This work was supported by the project Territorial Management Based on Growth Poles Theory (UEFICSU-PNII-Idei, 1950) and the contract POSDRU/86/1.2/S/57462, strategic project “Optimization of the insertion process on the labour market concerning the geography graduates”, co-financed by the European Social Fund, through the Sectoral Operational Programme for the Human Resources Development 2007-2013.
- Parry ML, Rosenzweig C, Iglesias A, Livermore M, Fischer G: Effects of climate change on global food production under SRES emissions and socio-economic scenarios. Glob Environ Chang 2004, 14: 53–67. 10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2003.10.008View ArticleGoogle Scholar
- Chloupek O, Hrstkova P, Schweigert P: Yield and its stability, crop diversity, adaptability and response to climate change, weather and fertilisation over 75 years in the Czech Republic in comparison to some European countries. Field Crop Res 2004, 85: 167–190. 10.1016/S0378-4290(03)00162-XView ArticleGoogle Scholar
- Olesen JE, Bindi M: Consequences of climate change for European agricultural productivity, land use and policy. Eur J Agron 2002, 16: 239–262. 10.1016/S1161-0301(02)00004-7View ArticleGoogle Scholar
- Austin AT, Yahdjian L, Stark JM, Belnap J, Porporato A, Norton U, Ravetta DA, Schaeffer SM: Water pulses and biogeochemical cycles in arid and semiarid ecosystems. Oecologia 2004, 141: 221–235.View ArticleGoogle Scholar
- Mocanu I, Dumitraşcu M, Dumitrescu B, Popovici A: The Drinking Water Infrastructure in the Oltenia Plain over the Last Decade. Territorial Characteristics and Quantitative Aspects of Production and Consumption. Forum Geogr 2011, 10: 364–371.View ArticleGoogle Scholar
- Heshmati M, Arifin A, Shamshuddin J, Majid NM, Ghaituri M: Factors affecting landslides occurrence in agro-ecological zones in the Merek catchment. J Arid Environ 2011, 75: 1072–1082. 10.1016/j.jaridenv.2011.06.011View ArticleGoogle Scholar
- Sánchez-Picón A, Aznar-Sánchez JA, García-Latorre J: Economic cycles and environmental crisis in arid southeastern Spain. A historical perspective. J Arid Environ 2011, 75: 1360–1367. 10.1016/j.jaridenv.2010.12.014View ArticleGoogle Scholar
- Nikolova N, Boroneanţ C: Observed changes in precipitation in the Danube river lower basin in the context of climate change. Forum Geogr 2011, 10: 117–128.View ArticleGoogle Scholar
- NASA Landsat Program: Landsat TM scenes L5184029_02919900711 and L5184030_03019900711, L1T. Sioux Falls: USGS; 1990. 07/11/1990Google Scholar
- NASA Landsat Program: Landsat TM scenes L5184029_02920110822 and L5184030_03020110822, L1T. Sioux Falls: USGS; 2011. 08/22/2011Google Scholar
- Sirodoev IG: Moldovia's Challenge in the Face of Surface Water Resource Changes. In Global Environmental Change: Challenges to Science and Society in Southeastern Europe. Edited by: Alexandrov V, Gajdusek MF, Knight CGF, Yotova A. Netherlands: Springer; 2010:221–228.View ArticleGoogle Scholar
- Wessels K, van den Bergh F, Scholes R: Limits to detectability of land degradation by trend analysis of vegetation index data. Remote Sens Environ 2012, 125: 10–22.View ArticleGoogle Scholar
- Braghina C, Merciu C, Peptenatu D, Dobre R, Ianos IL: Environment Management in the Mining Areas Functionally Restructured. Case Study–the Petrosani Depression, Romania. J Environ Protect Ecol 2012,4(13):2394–2403.Google Scholar
- Peptenatu D, Pintilii RD, Draghici C, Stoian D: Environmental pollution in functionally restructured urban areas: case study – the city of Bucharest. Iran J Environ Health Sci Eng 2010,2010(7):87–96.Google Scholar
- Peptenatu D, Merciu C, Merciu G, Drăghici C, Loreta Cercleux LA: Specific Features Of Environment Risk Management In Emerging Territorial Structures. Carpathian J Earth Environ Sci 2012, 7: 135–143.Google Scholar
- Peptenatu D, Pintilii R, Draghici C, Merciu C, Mateescu RD: Management of Environment Risk within Emergency Territorial Systems. Case Study – the Influence Area of the Bucharest City. J Environ Prot Ecol 2012,4(13):2360–2370.Google Scholar
- Ianoş I, Peptenatu D, Zamfir D: Respect forenv ironment and sustainable development. Carpathian J Earth Environ Sci 2009, 4: 81–93.Google Scholar
- Ianos I, Peptenatu D, Pintilii RD, Draghici C: About sustainable development of the territorial emergent structures from the metropolitan area of Bucharest. Environ Eng Manag J 2012,11(9):1535–1545.Google Scholar
- Peptenatu D, Pintilii RD, Draghici C: Environmental risk management of urban growth poles regarding national importance. Int J Environ Sci Tech 2011, 8: 737–746.View ArticleGoogle Scholar
- Braghină C, Peptenatu D, Constantinescu Ş, Pintilii RD, Drăghici C: The pressure exerted on the natural environment in the open pit exploitation areas in Oltenia. Carpathian J Earth Environ Sci 2010, 5: 33–40.Google Scholar
- Braghină C, Peptenatu D, Draghici C, Pintilii RD, Schvab A: Territorial management within the systems affected by mining. Case study the South-Western Development Region in Romania. Iran J Environ Health Sci Eng 2011, 8: 342–352.Google Scholar
- Shahsavani A, Naddafi K, Jafarzade Haghighifard N, Mesdaghinia A, Yunesian M, Nabizadeh R, Arahami M, Sowlat MH, Yarahmadi M, Saki H, Alimohamadi M, Nazmara S, Motevalian SA, Goudarzi G: The evaluation of PM 10 , PM 2.5 , and PM 1 concentrations during the Middle Eastern Dust (MED) events in Ahvaz, Iran, from April through September 2010. J Arid Environ 2012, 77: 72–83.View ArticleGoogle Scholar
- Dumitrascu M: Modificări ale peisajului în Câmpia Olteniei. Bucureşti: Ed. Academiei Române; 2006.Google Scholar
- Vlăduţ A: Temperature – Humidity Index (THI) within the Oltenia Plain between 2000 and 2009. Forum Geogr 2011, 10: 149–156.Google Scholar
- Păltineanu C, Mihailescu IF, Seceleanu I, Dragota C, Vasenciuc F: Using aridity indexes to describe some climate and soil features in Eastern Europe: a Romanian case study. Theor Appl Climatol 2007, 90: 263–274. 10.1007/s00704-007-0295-3View ArticleGoogle Scholar
This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.