//Entries by Bernard Elissalde

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Altitudinal zonation

The notion of altitudinal zonation is used to account for the discontinuities associated with altitude in mountain areas. It has been the subject of many iconographic representations, the principal ones generally taking the form of diagram-blocks and sections. Botanists were the first to define the working mechanisms of altitudinal zonation in mountain areas. The criteria […]

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The idea of anthropization applies to any intervention by human societies that has an impact on natural elements. It generally concerns the action of man considered as an environmental agent. Whereas some limit the field covered by anthropization to the idea of degradation, others (P. Pinchemel) break down human intervention into appropriation, artificialization and development […]

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In contemporary sciences, attention paid to complexity comes from the lacks of the classical analytical approach in explaining reality. Complexity postulates that it is impossible to describe, without reductionism, some phenomena that cannot be broken down and that the Whole cannot be reduced to elementary units. The notion of complexity is used at two different […]

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For a single word in French and other Romance languages derived from the Latin “terra” (terre, etc), English has four, with a degree of overlap among meanings, both within English and with other languages such as French. “Earth”, often with a capital letter, generally refers to the planet, but also to the soil in its […]

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The first scientific meaning for the word energy was elaborated within the discipline of Physics, and applies to the faculty that a body has to produce mechanical work. In geography, the notion of energy is used in three main fields: In its most commonly accepted meaning today, the notion of energy is likened to a […]

Metropolisation (metropolis development)

“Metropolisation” is a notion built through extension of the term “metropolis” (etymologically: the mother-city) in order to designate a process of qualitative transformation, both functional and morphologic, of very large cities. Compared to the classical concentration process represented by cities in general, metropolisation is characterised by an increase of weight of the largest cities in […]

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Attempts to provide a general and universal definition of a mountain either become bogged down in vagueness (a mass rising above the surrounding lands) or run into multiple exceptions (high plateaux, island volcanism) whenever slope and altitude are considered separately. Definitions of an administrative type emphasise limits (thresholds) (the French ‘Mountain’ law of 1985 stipulating […]

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To talk about nomothetism (from Greek nomos: law) refers to the methodology adopted in geographical reasoning. Inspired by the standard explanatory model acknowledged by experimental sciences, spatial analysis uses an approach of the hypothetico-deductive type. It consists in questioning reality, starting from hypotheses, and using explicitly formulated spatial theories and models. These tools are confronted […]