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The importance of ecosystem services for rural inhabitants in a changing cultural landscape in Romania

Domenii publicaţii > Biologie + Tipuri publicaţii > Articol în revistã ştiinţificã

Autori: Hartel, T., Fischer, J., Campeanu, C., Milcu, A., Hanspach, J., Fazey, I

Editorial: Ecology and Society, 2014.


Many traditional cultural landscapes evolved as coupled social-ecological systems. It is important to understand how such systems navigate novel challenges posed by globalization. To address this issue, we bring together two components of a study carried out in a cultural landscape from Central Romania. The region was affected by major social and economic perturbations in the past century, affecting ethnic composition, community cohesion, land property regimes and the management of common resources. The first component of our study investigated how rural inhabitants appreciated ecosystem services (questionnaires, 98 persons, 30 villages). The second component aimed to assess the perception of people about ongoing changes in their communities (semi-structured interviews, 50 persons, 5 villages). Rural inhabitants particularly valued provisioning ecosystem services such as firewood, water and crops, but also healthy soils. Rural communities were characterized by a number of social and economic issues, especially individualism, lack of trust, corruption and poverty. People from communities with many initiatives (e.g. NGOs, associations, active individuals) were more optimistic regarding the future of their communities than people from villages with few or no initiatives. A major challenge for cultural landscapes such as those in Central Romania is to find new, meaningful ways to keep the social and ecological systems connected. Otherwise there is a risk that (short-term) socio-economic interests may impair the provisioning of important ecosystem services.

Cuvinte cheie: rural communities, globalization, change, cultural landscape, Eastern Europe