The use of Rapid Impact Assessment Matrix (RIAM) in Assessing the Environmental Impacts in Protected Areas. Case Study: Mountain Glacial Lakes Areas in Romania

Radu Mihăiescu, Andreea Ioana Pop, Octavian Liviu Muntean, Tania Mihăiescu, Cristian Maloș, Marius George Oprea, Ștefan Dezsi, Alexandru Ozunu, Viorel Arghiuș, Nicolae Baciu, Gheorghe Roșian, Vlad Macicasan

Abstract


The long-range impacts of various air pollutants attributed to industrial activities, pressures of climate changes, constitute a general threat for mountain areas. In some cases a more localized but sometimes intense cluster of impacts originate from local activities-economic exploitation and tourism. Protected mountain areas are subjected to various pressures ranging from illegal resources exploitation to pressures generated by touristic activities. Glacial mountain lakes are exposed to local and long-range originated environmental pressures and due to their high vulnerability and susceptibility to changes, and can act as environmental sensors recording and forecasting any adverse impact created by natural and/or anthropogenic factors.

Environmental impacts were comparatively assessed in three areas in the Carpathian Mountains, mountain areas characterized and influenced by the presence of mountain lakes: Rodnei Mountains (Buhăiescu and Iezerul Pietrosului lakes), Făgăraș Mountains (Bâlea and Călțun lakes) and Retezat Mountains (Bucura and Galeș lakes). Identified impacts were aggregated by using the Rapid Impact Assessment Matrix (RIAM) (adapted version) structured on 4 components: physical/chemical, biological/ecological, social/cultural, and economic/operational. An in-depth comparative analysis was performed on these glacial lakes areas located in Romanian Carpathian Mountains. The results allowed a common base impact assessment in the purpose of improving the management measures.


Keywords


mountain glacial lakes, environmental impact assessment, RIAM method, Romanian Carpathians.

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