Academic journal article Geopolitics, History and International Relations

Basic Stability Characteristics of Mountain Landscapes in Georgia

Academic journal article Geopolitics, History and International Relations

Basic Stability Characteristics of Mountain Landscapes in Georgia

Article excerpt

Historical-geographical Excursus

Georgia is located in the South Caucasus, between Black and Caspian seas, in Asia Minor, among South Caucasus Mountains. Georgia covers a territory of 69,700 km^sup 2^ and its population is almost 4.6 million. By area and population, Georgia keeps the 25th place in Europe. Georgia is distinguished by natural condition, biologic and landscape variety. The 10% of Georgia territory is no-touch natural environment and 40% of it is kept by primeval forest. There are all types of plants and soils in Georgia characteristic to Europe. It keeps the second place by mammalians and birds, third place by reptiles and fifth place by endemism and higher plants of their species and quantities.

Georgia is distinguished by landscape variety in Europe. Its range by height changes in limits of 0-5201 meters. 54% of its territory is represented by mountains, 33% by hills and knolls, and the rest of it - by lowland and plain. There are represented all forms of relief known in the world. The geographic location of Georgia, partitioning of its relief and variety of country climate, stipulates high characteristics of landscape diversity. There are represented 72 types of landscape, which, recounted on the territory, is a higher indicator in Europe (Biological and Landscape..., 2000).

Landscape diversity of Georgia stipulates a complexity of studying its geographical-ecological (geo-ecological) features. Among such features a particular meaning have the horizontal and vertical structure of landscape, the transformation of energy and substance (functioning) in landscape, the forms and scales of influence on the landscape, the landscape potential and stability. Their detection is in straight relation to the landscape functions determination, which is very important for landscape planning.

Basic Characteristics of Georgia Landscapes

Up-to-day condition of landscape is most important among geo-ecologic characteristics. Landscape transformation scales and application forms can show it. Among them, the basic ones are the present structure of landscape, existence of specific geo-masses, influence of forms and intensity. According to what kind of influence (natural, social-economic or mixed) is redundant, the character of the corresponding process is determined (Elizbarashvili, Matchavariani, et al., 2000).

Besides that, the influence on the landscape can be defined during some time (shortly, periodic, constant), procedural (on components, on complex, on process), scaled (feeble, average, strong) and others. The influence can be considered by modification of source, intensity, periodicity, forms and results. Consequently, the geographic analysis of each kind of influence and its results is a labor-consuming scientific-research process, which is stipulated by landscape, variety and scale of influence.

Character of influence can be considered by ability of self-regeneration of the landscape structure. It is admitted that if the influence touches only the biologic components, the landscape preserves the self-generation ability. Preservation of the self-regeneration mechanism is impossible if (Elizbarashvili, 2005):

1. The influence coincides or stimulates (increases) the negative natural processes (salinity, ravines, erosion and so on).

2. The basic landscape created component or relief and the climate are influenced (open-cast mining, terracing, and transport highway building and so on).

3. When one ecosystem is exchanged by another, an equivalent one (Box et al., 2000).

Any arbitrary influence can bring negative and positive results. For nature, the extreme influence causes a destruction of dynamic balance, conversion systemic connections among components, exchange of structure and functioning and so on. In spite of above mentioned, two aspects must be considered: first - how well preserved are the structural-functional features of any landscape after influence and second - how well the given landscape of social-economic function carries out. …

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