As part of a historical study of the Carpathian ecoregion, to identify salient features of the changing human geography, this paper deals with the 18th and 19th centuries when there was a large measure political unity arising from the expansion of the Habsburg Empire. In addition to a growth of population, economic expansion - particularly in the railway age - greatly increased pressure on resources: evident through peasant colonisation of high mountain surfaces (as in the Apuseni Mountains) as well as industrial growth most evident in a number of metallurgical centres and the logging activity following the railway alignments through spruce-fir forests. Spa tourism is examined and particular reference is made to the pastoral economy of the Sibiu area nourished by long-wave transhumance until more stringent frontier controls gave rise to a measure of diversification and resettlement. It is evident that ecological risk increased, with some awareness of the need for conservation, although substantial innovations did not occur until after the First World War.
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