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Juraj Kapusta, Juraj Hreško, František Petrovič, Dávid Tomko-Králo and Jozef Gallik

Abstract

Tatra’s lakes are vulnerable ecosystems and an important element of the alpine landscape. Mainly some shallow lake basins succumb to intense detritus sedimentation, fine fractions of material from the catchment area or to the overgrowing of water level by vegetation. In this paper, changes and dynamics of the 12 Tatra’s lake shorelines that were selected based on the detailed mapping of their extent are pointed out. Changes were assessed by accurate comparisons of historical and current orthophoto maps from the years 1949, 1955 and 2015 – and therefore, based on the oldest and the latest relevant materials. Due to the overgrowing of lakes caused by vegetation, their water surface decreased from −0.9% up to −47.9%, during the examined period. Losses were caused by the overgrowing of open water surface by the communities of sedges and peat bogs. The most significant dynamics of the shorelines during the last decades were reached by those lakes, into which fine sediments were simultaneously deposited by means of mountain water coarse. These sediments made the marginal parts of the lake basins shallower and accelerated rapid expansion of vegetation to the detriment of the open water surface. The overgrowing of shallow moraine lakes lying in the vegetation zone is a significant phenomenon of the High Tatras alpine landscape. It leads to their gradual extinction, turn into peat bogs and wet alpine meadows.