Journal of Mountain Science

, Volume 11, Issue 1, pp 131–141 | Cite as

The impact of topography on social factors, a case study of Montenegro

  • Tamás TelbiszEmail author
  • Zsolt Bottlik
  • László Mari
  • Margit Kőszegi


Relationships between environmental and social factors have long been studied by geographers. Nowadays, GIS-aided statistical analysis provides new tools to explore these relationships. In order to detect the impact of topography on social factors, we selected the country of Montenegro as a case example due to its high topographic variability. We compared the spatial pattern of population, settlements and ethnic minorities to physical geographic factors, especially to topography, but lithology and land cover data were also taken into consideration. We found that certain factors are closely correlated, e.g. the settlement density linearly decreases with elevation, while the characteristic settlement area shows an exponential increase upwards. The population density is not related to absolute elevation, but it is in close correlation with height (i.e. elevation relative to the local minimum). Population change and illiteracy are also topography-related social factors. On the contrary, the variable ethnic pattern of Montenegro is influenced by historical, political and economic effects rather than by environmental factors or topographic features. As a conclusion we state that in the scale of a country or a region, the environment can strongly impact some social factors.


Human-environment relations Dinarides GIS Settlements Population Ethnic groups 


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Copyright information

© Science Press, Institute of Mountain Hazards and Environment, CAS and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tamás Telbisz
    • 1
    Email author
  • Zsolt Bottlik
    • 2
  • László Mari
    • 1
  • Margit Kőszegi
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Physical GeographyEötvös UniversityBudapestHungary
  2. 2.Department of Regional ScienceEötvös UniversityBudapestHungary

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