Moldavian Plain

Moldavian Plain (Romanian: Câmpia Moldovei) is a geographic area in the north west of Moldova and north east of Romania, one of the six compenents of the Moldavian Plateau. Despite the name, Moldavian Plain is not flat, but a region dotted with hills, part of the Moldavian Plateau.

Moldavian Plain is situate in the center-north part of the Moldavian Plateau. It has elevations of cca. 200 m, and is composed of:

  • Jijia Plain, west of the river Prut,
  • Middle Prut Valley, or Middle Prut Plain, east of the river Prut, creeks tributary to the Prut, 2,930 km2
  • Bălţi Steppe, or Răut Plain, east of the river Prut, creeks tributary to the Dniester, 1,920 km2

In Moldova, Bălţi steppe, 1,920 km2, and Middle Prut Valley, 2,930 km2 are sometimes together referred to as Moldavian Plain, however one should be warned that in Romania the term Moldavian Plain is used as a synonym for the Jijia Plain. Before 1940 the term used to mean Jijia Plain plus Middle Prut Valley, plus Bălţi steppe, because the three regions have an identical relief and natural vegetation. To make the things even more complicated, in Moldova sometimes Bălţi steppe and Middle Prut Valley are lumped together into one term, Bălţi steppe.

Moldavian Plain is surrounded from all sides by hills: Suceava Plateau to the west, NW, and SW, Niester Hills to the north and east, Ciuluc-Soloneţ Hills and Corneşti Hills to the south and south-est. These hills are characterized by deep gorges, and the term plain is employed to denote the fact that the area in-between the hill formations is visibly narrower and less jagged.

The Plain is traversed from north to south by the Prut River, which splits them roughly in half. In the south of the western part lies the valley of the Jijia River, a tributary of the Prut. The eastern end of the plains, the Bălţi Plain, contains the upper Răut river valley, a tributary of the Dniester River. The waters of the Bălţi steppe fall into the Răut river, while those of the Middle Prut Valley fall into the Prut river.

The region is a traditional agricultural area, favored by several factors, such as the black earth (earth with a very high natural fertility), a high degree of deforestation that occurred in the 19th century, and the tradition.

Crops, vegetables, industrial plants (such as tobacco), fruit trees (such as apple trees), fodder for livestock, and occasionally grapes, potatoes, and berry shrubs are cultivated. The agriculture is overwhelmingly dominant over the traditional vegetation, (deciduous) forests, and only occasionally forest steppes.

Traditional wildlife - wolves, foxes, rabbits, boars, roes, storks, geese, ducks - are very rarely found outside a few remaining forests. A traditional horse growing area, the Moldavian Plain since the beginning of the 20th century has specialized in livestock (cows, sheep) and poultry.

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