Articles | Volume 64, issue 3
30 Sep 2009
 | 30 Sep 2009

Impacts of tourism on geomorphological processes in the Bucegi Mountains in Romania

B. Mihai, E. Reynard, G. Werren, I. Savulescu, I. Sandric, and Z. Chitu

Abstract. The Bucegi Mountains are situated in the Curvature Carpathians close to the metropolitan area of Bucharest. Tourism has been promoted on the Bucegi Plateau since the 1930s with the establishment then of several hotels and chalets. During the communist period after World War II, the area targeted mass tourism with the creation of a large network of hiking paths. Increased heating needs led to the almost complete removal of dwarf pine cover. The current situation is characterised by intense vegetation and soil degradation and by active gullying along the hiking trails and around the main tourist infrastructures. This study proposes a strategy for sustainable tourism development on the plateau based on an analysis of both local tourist infrastructure development during the 20th century and impacts of tourism on vegetation and soil erosion during the last decade. It is argued that erosion can be counterbalanced by redesigning the tourist path network, rehabilitating the degraded slopes and raising the awareness of tourists concerning geomorphological processes.