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Causes and consequences of demographic development in the territory of Velebit Nature Park, 1857–2001

DANE PEJNOVIĆ orcid id ; Geography Department, Faculty of Natural Science and Mathematics, Marulićev trg 19, 10000 Zagreb, Croatia
DRAGICA HUSANOVIĆ-PEJNOVIĆ ; Teacher Studies, Department in Gospić, Teachers College in Rijeka, Dr. Ante Starčevića 12, 53000 Gospić, Croatia

Puni tekst: engleski pdf 1.003 Kb

str. 195-204

preuzimanja: 587




Background and Purpose: The focus of this paper is the population and level of human habitation in Velebit Nature Park. The objective is to show the causes underlying demographic development, including population figures from 1857 to 2001 and overall population trends from 1961 to 2001 (population dynamics, natural trends and migrations) and their consequences in the contemporary habitation structure (settlements based on size and age composition of their populations).

Research methodology, periodization and spatial scheme: The research approach was based on application of demographic models (demographic transition, general population trends and percentage evalvation of the population’s age structure), methods (spatial analysis and synthesis) and techniques (tabular and cartographic analysis of relevant indicators). Periodization encompasses the intercensal periods from 1857 to 2001, wherein emphasis is placed on analysis of demographic development during the 1961–2001 period and the 1991–2001 period. The special scheme for research
constitutes Velebit Nature Park as a whole, its four population zones
(sub-montane settlements, coastal settlements, peripheral Lika settlements and Zrmanja area settlements), and settlements in the wider Park zone (a total of 75 settlements).

Results and Conclusions: From the time of its first settlement in the late seventeenth century until the beginning of the twentieth century, the population in the Park’s territory grew, whereafter continual depopulation ensued. At its peak in 1910, the population in the wide territory of the Park was 52,202, which is approximately 22 persons/km2, while in 2001 the population was only 9,219, or less than 4 persons/km2. Main causes for this drastic depopulation were emigration (under conditions of agrarian overpopulation and lagging regional development) and destructive impact of wars (WorldWar II and Croatia’s 'HomelandWar' inthe 1990s). Given the overriding
population trends, the result was that by the 1960s this became an exodus area marked by explicit emigratory trends, while by the 1970s this became a dying-off trend. This fact is reflected in the modern habitation structure, characterized by predominance of small settlements with populations marked by extremely advanced age. Enervation of the social energy to make use of the Park’s resources and threats to habitats by natural succession of vegetation – with the ensuing negative impact on biological diversity and landscapes – dictate the need to revitalize the population within the framework
of sustainable development in the protected area.

Ključne riječi

population; settlements; demographic development; natural trends; migrations; depopulation; Velebit Nature Park; Croatia

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