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Potentials for sustainable development of a traditional landscape in eastern Europe: Case study in Apuseni mountains, Romania



A traditional landuse system in Apuseni mountains, Romania, and its potentials of sustainable development is investigated by an interdisciplinary  research project coordinated by the University of Freiburg, and financed by BMBF-BEO. The duration of the project was between october 2000 and february 2004. The research project is based on 5 methodological principles:

  1. Scaling up from a detailed inventory of one village towards the analysis of the region and the country with different study intensities and methodological approaches.
  2. Interdisciplinarity between disciplines of nature science, landuse management, economy and policy. Cooperations exist with a number of other german and romanian partners.
  3. Active participation of local people and key actors will allow transdisciplinar components. The regional and local politicians of the Alba Iulia county and the community of Girda de Sus, and people of Ghetari are involved using selected participatory methods.
  4. An analysis of the situation, evaluations and scenarios of further development will result in exemplary implementations.
  5. Intercultural cooperation between german and romanian scientific partners and local actors will contribute to transfers of understanding, knowledge and techniques between the two cultures.



The study is focussing on montane villages where people still live largely from subsistence production, animal husbandry, forest use, and wood processing. Aims of the project are: to analyse the present landscape, its species and ecosystems; the landuse techniques in agriculture and forestry. This will be performed by analysing the region around Ghetar, a representative village of the region. Environmental and vegetation data are collected with disciplinary approaches, and stored and analysed using GIS („landscape modell“).

Using general statistical data, the households of the village are divided into four categories. Based upon this stratification, representative households are studied in detail („household model“). Aim of the analysis is to bilance the households, their different types of work during the year, the invested money and/or material, and the resulting products.

Both partial modells form the general modell of the community of Ghetar. Central link between the „landscape model“ and the „household model“ are the parcells. All boundaries between parcells will be defined, each piece of land attributed to an owner and/or user. Each parcell of the complete landscape around Ghetar will be assessed or evaluated in terms of environment, values to nature conservation (e.g., biodiversity, naturalness), the site-related production potentials, present landuse, and future options under various socioeconomic conditions. Each household is analysed in terms of input and yield of each piece of land it uses, and in terms of importance and productivity of each sector of activities in production and trade.

Upscaling of households to villages, and from villages to landscapes will give a regional modell („bottom-up-approach“). These results can be compared with regional socioeconomic bilances derived from general statistic data and indirect indicators („top-down-approach“).

Different scenarios of future developments of households and landscape will be applied and discussed under varying economical and political frameworks and constraints. Some of them are participatory, some expert-based upon regional socioeconomic analyses. Strategies for environmental sound, sustainable landuse systems were recommended.

Selected results were applied in the village of Ghetari in form of “leading projects”:

  • Promotion of rural tourism: An association for common appetizing of accomodations and marketing of local products has been founded. A traditional building was transferred to a central place and acts as visitor center for tourists. Thinking about methods of attracting visitors has started.

  • Advise and participatory implementation of agricultural techniques, including fertilizing, construction of stables, and crop cultivation.

  • Knowledge, local use and improved marketing of healing plants, particularly Arnica montana.

  • Workshops with local foresters and politicians about problems and limitations of sustainable forest use.

Weitere Informationen unter:  http://www.proiect-apuseni.org


Weitere  Dissertationen im Rahmen des „Project Apuseni“:
  • Vegetation und Landnutzung im Apuseni-Gebirge, Rumänien (Bearbeitung: Katja Brinkmann, Katrin Müller-Riemenschneider).

  • Einsatz der Fuzzy-Logik in der räumlichen Modellierung der aktuellen Landnutzung und Planung nachhaltigen Wirtschaftens im Apuseni-Gebirge, Rumänien (Bearbeiter: Lehmann, Dieter).


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