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The paper depicts Amazonia as a region in natural, social and economic terms. It consists of two parts: the general part, discussing the natural conditions in the whole of Amazonia, and the part devoted to the Brazilian Amazonia. The latter discusses the socio-economic relations in the region as well as huge investment projects associated with the mining and processing of iron ore and water power engineering; it also highlights losses caused to the natural environment.
The paper aims to give specific content to the notion of the Balkans. The author looks at the linkages between the geographically distinct Balkan Peninsula and the Balkans as they are popularly referred to in the media. The article discusses the evolution of the term and the changes in the range of the area on the basis of historical maps. Based on the analysis of the materials, the author concludes that its historical past played a crucial part in the emergence of the Balkan region. The expansion of the Ottoman Turks to the Balkan Peninsula brought the destruction of the existing political structures and a deep transformation of the social relations following the Islamisation of the Balkans. Far-reaching ethnic, cultural and religious changes took place, which last until the present day. The author also looks for the common characteristics of the Balkan countries, manifested primarily in the multi-cultural character of the region and in the linkages between man and the environment. The analysis indicates that the Balkans are fallaciously identified with the Balkan Peninsula as, though being located on the Peninsula, they form a smaller area culturally. The spatial range of the Balkans has changed along with political developments.
An important issue of research concerning the geography of Poland and the region is to determine the extent of a region in an urban area with which the pupils identify themselves. To this end, surveys were conducted in two major Polish cities: Kielce and Poznań. The surveys were conducted among pupils from lower secondary schools, situated in different parts of the city: in the centre, in a typical housing estate, and in the suburbs. The existence and the extent of a region with which people identify themselves are dependent on individual perceptions and the ability to evaluate an area. The research conducted is indicative of the fact that lower secondary school pupils mostly identify themselves with places in the nearest area - the street, the housing estate, the district. For this reason, in the implementation of the knowledge connected with the geography of Poland the teachers should apply a kind of gradation, i.e. continuing teaching, beginning with imparting knowledge about the closest area, through one's own housing estate and city, in accordance with the rule of increasing the difficulty - from what is close to what is far, from what is known to what is unknown. This means that the implementation of the tasks of regional education requires both the teaching of the geography of Poland and providing education about one's nearest region.
Ważnym zagadnieniem badań dotyczących geografii Polski i regionu jest określenie zasięgu obszaru, z którym utożsamiają się uczniowie. W tym celu przeprowadzono badania ankietowe w dwóch dużych miastach Polski: Kielcach i Poznaniu. Objęto nimi uczniów szkół gimnazjalnych położonych w różnych częściach miasta: w centrum, na typowym osiedlu mieszkaniowym oraz na peryferiach miasta. Istnienie i zasięg obszaru, z którym człowiek utożsamia się, są zależne od indywidualnego postrzegania i zdolności do oceniania oraz waloryzacji przestrzeni. Przeprowadzone badania wskazują, że uczniowie gimnazjów czują się najbardziej związani z miejscami występującymi w ich najbliższym otoczeniu - ulicą, osiedlem, dzielnicą. Dlatego też, w realizacji tematyki odnoszącej się do geografii Polski należy kontynuować nauczanie od najbliższej okolicy poprzez własne osiedle i miasto, zgodnie z zasadą nauczania – stopniowania trudności - od tego co bliskie do tego co daleko, od tego co znane do nieznanego.
The purpose of this study was to evaluate the growing threat of hydrological droughts for the territory of Poland. Using the values of the Palmer Drought Severity Index (PDSI) tendencies in the appearance of drought months were analyzed in summer months in the 20th century. An increase in the frequency of appearance of drought months was detected in last two decades. Monthly minimum values of the PDSI show statistically significant downward tendency which indicates tendency towards over drying. Mean values of the PDSI for the period 1991-2000 was significantly lower then values in the reference period 1961-1990 for the most of the territory of Poland.
The Ganges and the Brahmaputra rivers are amongst the largest in the world. Since the dawn of civilisation they have played a pivotal role in the social and economic life of the countries that they flow through: Nepal, India and Bangladesh. It is there that same of the very first civilisations originated. They owed their existence to the first farmers, for whom settling in a larger group and harvesting together brought only benefits. Even today, most of the local population harvests the land, just like their forefathers did several thousand years before. The edible crops provide a basis of nutrition for the natives and industrial crops serve as major sources of income for these countries. In the Ganges and the Brahmaputra valleys there lie many urban areas, including several with a population that exceeds 10 million. Those include Calcutta - 15.7 million, Delhi 13.2 million, and Dhaka - 12.3 million. The Ganges waters are used for religious and ritual purposes as Hinduism deems the river holy. In addition, it is one of the most polluted rivers in the world, its condition partially being due to ritual ceremonies. The use of the Ganges and the Brahmaputra waters was a cause for many conflicts between India and Bangladesh. Even though a compromise was reached, each of the two countries is still trying to prove that they have more rights to use the priceless waters.
The evolutionary importance of natural interspecific hybridisation is still an issue of debate. The application of molecular tools in population genetic studies unraveled that hybridization is more frequent than prevoiusly expected. It seems that 6-25% species hybridize, within both plants and animals, although the numbers given may represent substantial underestimate. It is still not resolved how many species is of hybrid origin. Due to the widespread of hybridization discovered, questions on its importance for ecology, evolution and conservation of species have to be re-examined. The controversy whether the hybrids are fit or unfit relative to their parents seems to be of major ecological importance. On the other hand, it has been proven that hybridization enhances speciation and diversification of species. The are two issues critical for the success and importance of hybridization: 1) the stability of genetical architecture after mixing of gene pools of the two different species, 2) the interplay between hybrid phenotype and environmental conditions. The hybridization may facilitate speciation due to transgressive segregation, increased phenotypic variation or phenotypic plasticity. Broad range of phenotypes allows natural selection to play upon it, and makes it more feasible to pick-up the most fit ones. Thus hybridization may be important mechanism for colonization of new environments, creating new ecological niches, or fastening evolutionary changes.
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