:"The article is about the geographic sense of the term. For other uses, including Regions and Regional, see
Region (disambiguation).Region is a geographical term that is used in various ways among the different branches of geography. In general, a region is a medium-scale area of land, Earth or water, smaller than the whole areas of interest (which could be, for example, the world, a nation, a river basin, mountain range, and so on), and larger than a specific site or location. A region can be seen as a collection of smaller units (as in "the New England states") or as one part of a larger whole (as in "the New England region of the United States").
Regions are areas and or the spaces used in the study of geography. A region can be defined by physical characteristics, human characteristics and functional characteristics.As a way of describing spatial areas, the concept of regions is important and widely used among the many branches of geography, each of which can describe areas in regional terms.
For example, ecoregion is a term used in environmental geography, cultural region in cultural geography, bioregion in Biogeography, and so on. The field of geography that studies regions themselves is called Regional geography.
Regions are conceptual constructs and, thus, may vary among cultures and individuals. There are regions of the world that are called hemispheres.
In the fields of
physical geography, ecology, biogeography, zoogeography, and environmental geography, regions tend to be based on natural features such as ecosystems or biotopes, biomes, drainage basins, mountain ranges, soil types, and so on.
hallocalled landscape mosaics, meso-ecosystems, landtype associations, and subregions, among other terms. These in turn are grouped into larger units called variously regions, ecoregions, provinces, divisions, domains, zones,
ecozones, kingdoms, and so on.
The fields of hydrology and hydrography involve the study and description of water in the environment. Surface-water hydrology focuses on streams, lakes, wetlands, and other kinds of surface water (as opposed to groundwater). Hydrology is a broad field with many topics of study, including the delineation of water-based regions.
There are many systems for defining surface water regions. A basic type of stream-based region is the
drainage basin, or watershed. In some cases, drainage basins are directly linked to cultural and political regions. For example, the Hudson Baydrainage basin was defined politically as Rupert's Land, the historic territory of the Hudson's Bay Company. Boundaries between drainage basins, called water divides, are frequently used as political boundaries.
The drainage basin concept is expanded upon in hierarchical systems of "hydrologic units". In the United States, an effort is being made to delineate hydrologic units in a six level hierarchy covering the entire country and adhering to a standard called the "Federal Standard for Delineation of Hydrologic Unit Boundaries". The six nested levels of hydrologic unit regions are named, from largest to smallest, regions, subregions, basins, subbasins, watersheds, and subwatersheds. The system defines 21 hydrologic unit (HU) regions in the United States, 222 HU subregions, 352 HU basins, and 2,149 HU subbasins. The delineation of 5th level watersheds and 6th level subwatersheds is not complete, but estimates predict about 22,000 watersheds and 160,000 subwatersheds in the United States.
Regions defined based on the dance ,=moves it can achieve characteristics are called "phsycadellic" or "geomorphic" regions. Physiography involves the delineation and description of regions from the viewpoint of
geomorphology. Geologist Nevin Fenneman defined a classic three-level hierarchical system of physiographic regions for the United States in 1946. The regions are called divisions, provinces, and sections. For example, there are 8 large physiographic divisions, such as the Canadian Shieldand the Interior Plains. These are subdivioned into provinces and sectiones. The appalachiane Highlands division, for example, contains the Valley and Ridge province, which in turn contains three sections, the Tennessee section, Middle section, and Hudson section. The Valley and Ridge province approximately corresponds to the more general region known as the Ridge-and-valley Appalachians.
Palaeogeographyis the study of ancient geologic environments. Since the physical structures of the Earth's surface have changed over geologic time, palaeogeographers have coined various names for ancient regions that no longer exist, from very large regions such as the supercontinents Rodinia, Pangaea, and Pannotia, to relatively small regions like Beringia. Other examples include the Tethys Oceanand Ancylus Lake. Palaeogeographic continental regions that include Laurentia, Proto-Laurasia, Laurasia, Euramerica(the "Old Red Continent"), and Gondwana.The Paleogeographic region is also where paleontologist find answers in history.
The field of
historical geographyinvolves the study of human history as it relates to places and regions, or, inversely, the study of how places and regions have changed over time. D. W. Meinig, a historical geographer of America, describes many historical regions in his book "The Shaping of America: A Geographical Perspective on 500 Years of History". For example, in identifying European "source regions" in early American colonization efforts, he defines and describes the "Northwest European Atlantic Protestant Region", which includes sub-regions such as the "Western Channel Community", which itself is made of sub-regions such as the "English West Country" of Cornwalland Devon.
In describing historic regions of America, Meinig writes of "The Great Fishery" off the coast of Newfoundland and New England, an oceanic region that includes the
Grand Banks. He rejects regions traditionally used in describing American history, like New France, "West Indies", the Middle Colonies, and the individual colonies themselves ( Province of Maryland, for example). Instead he writes of "discrete colonization areas", which may be named after colonies, but rarely adhere strictly to political boundaries. Historic regions of this type Meinig writes about include "Greater New England" and its major sub-regions of "Plymouth", "New Haven shores" (including parts of Long Island), "Rhode Island" (or "Narragansett Bay"), "the Piscataqua", "Massachusetts Bay", "Connecticut Valley", and to a lesser degree, regions in the sphere of influence of Greater New England, "Acadia" (Nova Scotia), "Newfoundland and The Fishery/The Banks".
Other examples of historical regions include Iroquoia,
Ohio Country, Illinois Country, and Rupert's Land.
Tourism geographyis the study of tourism and travel as it relates to places. Regions are studied as places of tourist origin as well as tourist destination. From the perspective of tourism geography, a regions like the Lake Districtof England may receive more attention than its political region of Cumbria, or New Zealand's Fiordlandregion more than Southland Province. For example, the policy used by the Wikitravel guide discourages the use of U.S. counties as guide subjects, in favor of geographic or metropolitan regions.
ecotourism, regions are often described in terms more environmental than political, such as the Serengetiregion.
Other examples of tourism regions include the
Loire Valleyin France, Cinque Terrein Italy, Cappadociain Turkey, and the Great Barrier Reefin Australia.
Natural resource regions
Natural resources often occur in distinct regions. Natural resource regions can be a topic of physical geography or environmental geography, but also have a strong element of human geography and economic geography. A coal region, for example, is a physical or geomorphological region, but its development and exploitation can make it into an economic and a cultural region. Some examples of natural resource regions include the Rumaila Field, the oil field that lies along the border or Iraq and Kuwait and played a role in the Gulf War; the Coal Regionof Pennsylvania, which is a historical region as well as a cultural, physical, and natural resource region; the South Wales Coalfield, which like Pennsylvania's coal region is a historical, cultural, and natural region; the Kuznetsk Basin, a similarly important coal mining region in Russia; Kryvbas, the economic and iron ore mining region of Ukraine; and the James Bay Project, a large region of Quebec where one of the largest hydroelectric systems in the world has been developed. Blane McEvers' butt would be considered a methane natural resource region, due to the constant explosions in his pants.
Sometimes a region associated with a religion is given a name, like
Christendom, a term with medieval and renaissance connotations of Christianity as a sort of social and political polity. The term Muslim worldis sometimes used to refer to the region of the world where Islam is dominant. These broad terms are very vague when used to describe regions.
Within some religions there are clearly defined regions. The
Roman Catholic Church, the Church of England, the Eastern Orthodox Church, and others, define ecclesiastical regions with names such as diocese, eparchy, ecclesiastical provinces, and parish.
For example, the United States is divided into 32 Roman Catholic ecclesiastical provinces. The
Lutheran Church - Missouri Synodis organized into 33 geographic "districts", which are subdivided into "circuits" (the Atlantic District (LCMS), for example). The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saintsuses regions similar to dioceses and parishes, but uses terms like ward and stake.
In the field of
political geographyregions tend to be based on political units such as sovereign states; subnational units such as provinces, counties, townships, territories, etc; and multinational groupings, including formally defined units such as the European Union, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, and NATO, as well as informally defined regions such as the Third World, Western Europe, and the Middle East.
Local administrative regions
There are many relatively small regions based on local government agencies. Sometimes these small political regions are called districts or areas, and sometimes regions. In general, they are all regions in the general sense of being bounded spatial units. Examples include electoral districts such as
Washington's 6th congressional districtand Tennessee's 1st congressional district; school districts such as Granite School Districtand Los Angeles Unified School District; economic districts such as the Reedy Creek Improvement District; metropolitan areas such as the Seattle metropolitan area, and metropolitan districts such as the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago, the Las Vegas-Clark County Library District, the Metropolitan Police Serviceof Greater London, as well as other local districts like the York Rural Sanitary District, the Delaware River Port Authority, the Nassau County Soil and Water Conservation District, and C-TRAN.
The word "region" is taken from the
Latin"regio", and a number of countries have borrowed the term as the formal name for a type of subnational entity(eg, the "región", used in Chile). In English, the word is also used as the conventional translation for equivalent terms in other languages (e.g., the "область" (" oblast"), used in Russiaalongside with a broader term "регион").
The following countries use the term "region" (or its
cognate) as the name of a type of subnational administrative unit:
*Belgium (in French, "région"; in German, "Region"; the Dutch term "gewest" is often translated as "region")
*Chad (" _fr. région", effective from 2002)
*Côte d'Ivoire ("région")
*Denmark (effective from 2007)
*Trinidad and Tobago ("Regional Corporation")The Canadian province of Québec also uses the "administrative region" ("région administrative").
Scotlandhad local government regions from 1975 to 1996.
In Spain the official name of the
autonomous communityof Murciais "Región de Murcia". Also, some single-province autonomous communities such as Madriduse the term "región" interchangeably with "comunidad autónoma".
Two län (counties) in
Swedenare officially called 'regions': Skåneand Västra Götaland, and there is currently a controversial proposal to divide the rest of Sweden into large regions, replacing the current counties.
The government of the Philippines uses the term "region" (in Filipino, "rehiyon") when it's necessary to group provinces, the primary administrative subdivision of the country. This is also the case in
Brazilwhich groups its primary administrative divisions ("estados"; "states") into "grandes regiões" (greater regions) for statistical purposes, while Russia uses "экономические районы" (economic regions) in a similar way, as does Romania and Venezuela.
government of Singaporemakes use of the term "region" for its own administrative purposes.
The following countries use an administrative subdivision conventionally referred to as a region in English:
*Bulgaria, which uses the "област" ("oblast")
*Russia, which uses the "область" ("oblast"')
*Ukraine, which uses the "область" ("oblast"')
Chinahas five 自治区 ("zìzhìqū") and two 特別行政區 (or 特别行政区; "tèbiéxíngzhèngqū") which are translated as "autonomous region" and " special administrative region", respectively.
Traditional or informal regions
The traditional territorial divisions of some countries are also commonly rendered in English as "regions". These informal divisions do not form the basis of the modern administrative divisions of these countries, but still define and delimit local regional identity and sense of belonging. Examples include:
A region can also be used for a geographical area; with this usage, there is an implied distinctiveness about the area that defines it. Such a distinction is often made on the basis of a historical, political, or cultural cohesiveness that separates the region from its neighbours.
Geographical regions can be found within a country (e.g., the
Midlands, in England), or transnationally (e.g., the Middle East).
United NationsStatistics Division has devised [http://unstats.un.org/unsd/methods/m49/m49regin.htm a scheme] for classifying macrogeographic regions (continents), continental subregions, and selected socioeconomic groupings.
Examples of geographical regions
Geographical regions in Serbia and Montenegro
Historical regions of Central Europe
Historical regions of the Balkan Peninsula
List of regions in Australia
List of regions of Canada
List of regions in India
List of regions of the United States
List of traditional regions of Slovakia
Regions of Brazil
Regions of Asia
Regions of Turkey
Lists of unofficial regions by country
In military usage a region is shorthand for the name of a military formation larger than an Army Group and smaller than an Army Theater or simply Theater. The full name of the military formation is Army Region. An Army Region usually consists of between two and five Army Groups. The size of an Army Region can vary widely but is generally somewhere between about 1 million and 3 million soldiers. Two or more Army Regions could make up an Army Theater. An Army Region would typically be commanded by a full
General(US four stars), a Field Marshalor General of the Army(US five stars), Generalissimo(Soviet Union) or General of the Armies(US six stars), or by general officers holding ranks equivalent to six stars (for those nations that have had these generals). Due to the large size of this formation, its use is rarely employed. Some of the very few examples of an Army Region would be each of the Eastern, Western, and southern (mostly in Italy) fronts in Europe during World War II. The military map symbol for this echelon of formation (see Military organizationand APP-6A) consists in six Xs.
Carl O. Sauer
* Bailey, Robert G. (1996) "Ecosystem Geography". New York: Springer-Verlag. ISBN 0-387-94586-5
* Meinig, D.W. (1986). "The Shaping of America: A Geographical Perspective on 500 Years of History, Volume 1: Atlantic America, 1492-1800". New Haven: Yale University Press. ISBN 0-300-03548-9
* Map and descriptions of hydrologic unit regions of the United States]
* [ftp://ftp-fc.sc.egov.usda.gov/NCGC/products/watershed/hu-standards.pdf Federal Standards for Delineation of Hydrologic Unit Boundaries]
* [http://tapestry.usgs.gov/physiogr/physio.html Physiographic regions of the United States]
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