In a previous project (Hungarian Science and Research Foundation, project no. 104811) we already studied human-environment relationships on karst terrains.
Main issues of the previous project:
- How do the natural settings influence the socio-economic conditions (especially on karst)?
- What are the differences between karst and non-karst terrains in terms of society?
- How GIS can help in a modern approach of human-environment relationships?
- Is geographic possibilism a suitable theoretical framework today?
Main conclusions of the previous project (in general):
- The GIS-based, quantitative analysis is a useful tool in the exploration of the strength and dynamics of human-environment relationships.
- Environmental settings (elevation, relative height, slope, river distance, lithology, hydrography) have a relatively strong impact on the spatial distribution of human population and on land cover as well. This impact can be best described by nonlinear relationships. The best explaining factor for population density and for most land cover categories is slope angle, but in some cases, the best correlations are observed with river distance.
- Even if the human-environment relationships of a given historical moment are strong, there are changes in time, and for instance, the relationship of population change and elevation had a switching sign during the studied period in the Apuseni Mts. As the natural settings were more or less stable during this period, the changes can be explained from the side of society, which conforms the theory of cultural possibilism.
- Population densities of karst terrains are lower than that of their neighbouring landscapes (but there are also differences between karst and karst); ageing and depopulation are characteristic processes of the studied karstlands. Karst-related tourism has a high potential and it may act against the above negative processes, but its preserving effect is rather limited in space.
Conclusions in details and the regional studies: