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Introduction to thematic issue: “Human impact on the landscape” (HILS Working Group - International Association of Geomorphologists’)

Dénes Lóczy
p. 259-260

Notes de la rédaction

Article soumis le 13 avril 2010, accepté le 15 juillet 2010

Texte intégral

The author warmly thanks Marie-Françoise André (university Blaise-Pascal Clermont-Ferrand 2) for the editing of the French version of the paper.

1In recent years an increasing number of papers have been published in international journals on the various geomorphological aspects of human impact on landscapes. Bilateral seminars and international conferences have been organised to exchange experience concerning the influences of urban sprawl, land cultivation, industrial development (including mining), expanding infrastructures and even touristic or sports activities on the natural environment. The great diversity of human interventions in natural processes (intentional or unintentional, of immediate consequences or effective with a time lag) is studied using a wide range of scientific approaches. In order to coordinate international efforts in this research field, a Working Group of the International Association of Geomorphologists (IAG/AIG) entitled “Human Impact on the Landscape” (HILS) was proposed and approved at the 6th International Conference on Geomorphology, held in Zaragoza in 2005 (photo 1). The Working Group was officially formed in Pécs, on 26 May, 2006, and at the first meeting papers from five countries (Belgium, Germany, Hungary, Poland and Russia) were presented, mostly on river restoration and the reclamation of mining lands. A selection of papers was published in the Italian journal Geografia Física e Dinamica Quaternaria in 2007. At the Pécs meeting the Working Group organizer, Dénes Lóczy (University of Pécs), was elected President and Martin Haigh (Oxford Brookes University) and Takashi Oguchi (University of Tokyo) Vice-Presidents. Sessions in Bochum (Germany) and Braşov (Romania) followed with increasing participation. The Working Group has gradually extended its scope of activities and involved researchers from all continents. One of its ambitious aims is to compile an atlas of human impact in Europe.

Photo 1 – Participants of the first HILS Working Group (IAG) meeting at the Miner’s Monument in Pécs.

Photo 1 – Participants of the first HILS Working Group (IAG) meeting at the Miner’s Monument in Pécs.

2At the 7th International Conference on Geomorphology in Melbourne, Australia, in 2009, 10 papers and 10 posters summarised the results of recent investigations in various parts of the world. Accepting a generous offer from Professor Gilles Arnaud-Fassetta, Editor-in-Chief of the international journal Géomorphologie: relief, processus, environnement, a selection of the Melbourne presentations is published now as a Thematic Issue on “Human impact on the landscape”. For studies in anthropogenic geomorphology the Ruhr District of Germany (with the centre of Essen, declared the Capital of European Culture in 2010) seems to be an ideal area of investigation. In the first paper, Stefan Harnischmacher (formerly at Bochum, now at Koblenz) reports on the results of his mapping project directed at revealing spatial variations in ground level changes caused by large-scale coal extraction in an area of approximately 2,700 km2 over the past century. He could identify subsidences amounting to more than 25 m in some focal areas using a Digital Elevation Model. In the second paper, a team of Romanian authors, Gabriela Ioana-Toroimac, Robert Dobre, Florina Grecu and Liliana Zaharia (Bucharest) analyse the adjustments of the channel of the Upper Prahova (Carpathians and Subcarpathians in Romania) over a 150-year time span, based on archive maps and aerial photographs. Their morphometric investigations have revealed an intricate interplay of natural processes and human activities, which resulted in spectacular channel patterns. Two more papers are included to represent the anthropogenic geomorphological research trends at Pécs, Hungary. Dénes Lóczy and Péter Gyenizse are concerned with another Capital of European Culture, the two-thousand-year-old Pécs, where human impact is mostly manifested in the corollaries of housing development, water management measures, agricultural land use and the related expansion of the road network. Authors employ a holistic assessment method (Historic Landscape Characterisation) and focus on the identification of synergic effects of human interventions and attempt to synthetise all influences in a table and rate them on a synthesis map. Finally, Szabolcs Czigány and co-authors (Ervin Pirkhoffer, László Nagyvaradi, Anita Szebényi, Péter Vass and István Geresdi) investigate how urbanisation and the concomitant changes in ground conditions, including the sealing of soil surfaces, impounded water-courses and created a new type of “natural hazard”, urban flash floods. A small catchment in the Mecsek Mountains was selected for the detailed study of topographical, hydrological and land use conditions incorporated in a database, which was processed in GIS. Since the mitigation of economic damage is of great importance, the project has numerous implications for the practice.
Hopefully, the readers of this issue will be satisfied with the information included in the papers, can form an idea about the nature of research in the Working Group and may be urged to join in its future activities.

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Titre Photo 1 – Participants of the first HILS Working Group (IAG) meeting at the Miner’s Monument in Pécs.
URL http://geomorphologie.revues.org/docannexe/image/8005/img-1.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 738k
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Référence papier

Dénes Lóczy, « Introduction to thematic issue: “Human impact on the landscape” (HILS Working Group - International Association of Geomorphologists’) », Géomorphologie : relief, processus, environnement, vol. 16 - n° 3 | 2010, 259-260.

Référence électronique

Dénes Lóczy, « Introduction to thematic issue: “Human impact on the landscape” (HILS Working Group - International Association of Geomorphologists’) », Géomorphologie : relief, processus, environnement [En ligne], vol. 16 - n° 3 | 2010, mis en ligne le 14 octobre 2010, consulté le 28 juin 2017. URL : http://geomorphologie.revues.org/8005

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Auteur

Dénes Lóczy

University of Pécs - Institute for Environmental Sciences - Ifjúság útja 6 - H-7624 Pécs - Hungary (loczyd@gamma.ttk.pte.hu)

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