Hana Vavrouchová, Mária Pákozdiová and Ilona Svobodová
Our study is focused on the natural environment significance and potential for the development of a wider region. A special emphasis is put on the geographical category of small towns, which play an important role in stabilizing the population of the Czech Republic. In this context, a key factor of planning in the rural region is the demarcation of a catchment region and the determination of its potential. Natural environment (primary landscape structure) is a basic determinant of area development at all the levels. This paper aims at the natural environment analyses of the small towns in the South Moravian Region, with emphasis on the development opportunities and limitations. In this study, small towns are considered to be all the residential units holding a town status, with the exception of district towns and the city of Brno. The study is a part of the research project supported in 2011 by the Internal Grant Agency of Mendel University in Brno titled “Small towns - Motors of the South Moravian countryside development”.
The post-industrial landscape (PIL) is a generally accepted phenomenon of the present world. Its features are fossil in comparison to those ones in operating industrial landscapes. The required knowledge about the position, size, shape and type of PIL will help decision makers plan PIL future. The paper deals with the selection of identification features of PILs. Applicable data must be related to four landscape structures: natural, economic (land use), social (human) and spiritual. Present Czech geodatabases contain sufficient quantity and quality of data they can be interpreted as source of PIL identification criteria. GIS technology was applied for such data collection, geometric and format pre-processing, thematic reclassification and final processing. Using selected identification and classification criteria, 105 PILs were identified on the Territory of Czech Republic and classified into individual types. A SWOT analysis of results was carried out to identify the reliability level of data and the data processing. The identified PILs represent the primary results generally obtained in the Czech Republic. GIS approach allows repeated procedures elsewhere in EU member states because of some similarity of available geodatabases. Of course, an improvement of classification procedure depends on the real situation in each country.
Due to biotope fragmentation and changes in landscape structure, opportunities for forest animals to migrate and obtain food are diminishing, especially during extreme winter conditions. The main objective of this research was an assessment of ungulates, impact on woody species, evaluation of damage forms and bark renewal phases of affected woody plants. The study area is located in western Slovakia in the southeast part of Male Karpaty Mts. After the very cold and long winter of 2012/2013, 34% of woody plants were damaged by bark stripping and biting on the forest locality and 53% of evaluated trees and shrubs were damaged by biting off shoots in the non-forest locality. Together, 262 woody plants belonging to 15 species were evaluated; the girth of tree trunks and stripped bark patches were measured. The most severely affected tree species, suffering from bark stripping and bitten-off sprouts, was Fraxinus excelsior; Acer campestre was also significantly affected. Results showed that woody plants provide a significant part of hoofed mammal nutrition (especially Capreolus capreolus and Cervus elaphus). The stripped bark dendromass per forested area of 625 m2 reached 3 m2. After the mild winter in 2014, the majority (93.7%) of previously affected Fraxinus excelsior trees in the forest locality had only old damages with renewed bark in different phases of regeneration. In the non-forest locality, 96% of young Fraxinus excelsior, damaged in the winter of 2013, shot up new sprouts. The mortality of affected trees was minimal (4−5%).
Leporids play a dynamic role in the ecosystem and assessments must be undertaken in order to improve research efforts and methods. Landscape ecology metrics are used to quantify components of leporid habitat such as vegetation structure, vegetation cover, habitat type, and fragmentation; however, the degree to which the metrics are utilized in leporid research is relatively unknown. This paper assessed fifty-three published, peer reviewed papers on leporids from various European countries on where the study was done, the species of leporid that was studied, the content of the study (i.e. what the paper focused on), the length of the study, the size of the study area, and the method of study. The quantified landscape metrics within these papers were assessed. This study found that most of the studies occurred in Spain, the European rabbit and European hare were the most studied leporids, many papers were concerned with habitat relationships, many of the studies were conducted in a year or less, many papers utilized pellet surveys and trapping, and the most common landscape metric utilized was habitat type. This survey of research on leporids highlights that there is a lack of utilizing landscape structure and function metrics such as slope, fragmentation, and edge effect. These are important variables to help connect structure and function of ecological processes in the context of leporid habitat and landscapes. It is recommended that leporid researchers and landscape planners exchange research findings so that the best planning practices can occur on the ground for the leporids
Agricultural and industrial conditions are not favourable in the uphill and mountain areas of the Zamagurie region, and tourism is often the only opportunity to create new jobs, develop the habitation areas and avoid the emigration of local inhabitants. The Walachian and Sholtys colonization has transformed the landscape and created unique significant spatial landscape elements that are traditionally utilized for agricultural purposes, and create a unique esthetical landscape preserved till the present times. This case study has been aimed at developing and applying the new quantification methods using GIS tools for evaluation of localizing, selective realization and environmental preconditions of the landscape, representing recreational (cultural) services of the landscape ecological systems, based on selected indicators. To evaluate the localizing preconditions of the landscape, we referred to the landscape-ecological complex geo-databases (LEC) (Thematic maps - internal ground document of ZB GIS , 2013), completed with the field survey during the period 2013−2014 and identification of secondary landscape structure elements (SLS) and selected morphometric indicators. While evaluating the selected town-planning, demographical and social-economic indicators, we quantified the selective landscape preconditions of tourism development. The realization preconditions were reviewed according to communication accessibility and material-technical equipment. As for environmental preconditions, we reviewed the presence of protected territory and landscape environmental load.
We investigated relationships among bustard presence data as response as well as properties of habitat patches such as shape, size, type of land use and landscape connectivity in 2015, employing bustard occurrence data in Körös-Maros National Park (KMNP hereafter). Additionally, we aimed to present a geometrical approach of habitat choice in animals, focusing on geometric properties rather than vegetation structure. Here we applied landscape metrics approach, providing landscape classification by analysing spatial patterns in potentially important landscape objects, disregarding linear constructions. Our findings show insignificant differences between shape metrics of selected and non-selected habitat patches, in line with previous studies concluding that bustards choose habitats based on habitat type classes rather than on geometric properties. Further, our results indicate that the original habitats of the study species, adapted to extensive, open steppes, became strongly fragmented, resulting in the absence of large contiguous areas. Within the study area, landscape connectivity values represent optimal habitat conditions, probably as a result of highly patchy structure of the landscape and relatively small nearest neighbour distances of habitat patches. Thus, our findings also indicate that Great Bustards adapted to modified landscape structures. Our landscape analytical approach provides a methodological framework which can be applied on habitat selection tactics in a number of species of key conservation importance.
Daniel Kubinský, Karol Weis, Milan Lehotský and Jakub Fuska
This article is focused on the analysis and evaluation of the changes of the bottom of the Bakomi reservoir, the total volume of the reservoir, ecosystems, as well as changes in the riparian zone of the Bakomi reservoir (situated in the central Slovakia). Changes of the water component of the reservoir were subject to the deposition by erosion-sedimentation processes, and were identifed on the basis of a comparison of the present relief of the bottom of reservoir obtained from feld measurements (in 2011) with the relief measurements of the bottom obtained from the 1971 historical maps, (i.e. over a period of 40 years). Changes of landscape structures of the riparian zone have been mapped for the time period of 1949–2013; these changes have been identifed with the analysis of ortophotomaps and the feld survey. There has been a signifcant rise of disturbed shores with low herb grassland. Over a period of 40 years, there has been a deposition of 667 m3 of sediments. The results showed that there were no signifcant changes in the local ecosystems of the Bakomi reservoir in comparison to the other reservoirs in the vicinity of Banská Štiavnica.
Hirabuki Yoshihiko, Kanno Hiroshi, Sudesiqin, Su Gencheng and Bao Yuhai
Desertification of the Typical Steppe Landscape Under Field/Stock-Farming Management: An Assessment in Wufuhao Settlement, Central Inner Mongolia
Desertification of the Eurasian steppe biome brings serious problems to the natural environment, socio-economy and people's lives on both local and global scales. In the present study, we focused on the field/pasture-boundary in geographical land-use patterns, distributed in the Typical steppe zone (Stipa krylovii/Cleistogenes squarrosa/Leymus chinensis-dominant steppe) of Inner Mongolia, China, and assessed landscape structure and fragility through the interdisciplinary research. A study site was established in Wufuhao Settlement (41°11'42"N, 111°34'24"E; 1.2kmx2.0km; ca. 1615m a.s.l.), and field surveys consisting of vegetation mapping and sociological censuses were carried out during the 2002-2007 period. The results are summarized as follows: (1) a gently undulating hilly-landform stretched out, (2) since a mass immigration in the 1910's, natural vegetation has been changed into fields (63.9% of the study site) and Populus/Ulmus-plantations (8.6%), (3) 139 vascular plant species were detected, including crops, weeds and halophilous plants, and (4) five types of herbaceous plant communities were distinguished by TWINSPAN, coupled with the difference in micro-scale landforms, cultivation and grazing by livestock. Consequently, in spite of approaches for the environmental restoration, soil erosion by water-flows and winds, salinization, and the degradation of the remaining grassland vegetation, most of which having been caused by unsustainable field/stock-farming management, resulted in an irreversible destruction of the indigenous steppe landscape.
The function of permanent grasslands in water resources protection
Permanent grasslands - according to the Water Framework Directive - are typical water related ecosystems so they largely affect water quality, its cycling and balance and therefore deserve protection. They are an element of landscape structure (ecosystem function or service) commonly considered a factor stabilising environmental changes.
Most threats posed to waters in Poland originate from present cropland structure with its definite predominance of arable lands over grasslands. Agriculture should therefore focus on the improvement of land use structure in order to minimise environmental hazards and to guarantee at the same time optimum economic effects. This could be achieved by turning arable lands into grasslands (where justified e.g. on light soils) or at least by maintaining present grassland area (condition in negotiations with the EU) and management that would consider environmental protection.
Increasing the contribution of grasslands to cropland structure or at least maintaining their present status quo would help to achieve compromise between the goals of farmers and environmental protection. Purposeful utilisation of ecosystem services, particularly those of grasslands, allows to maintain more intensive farming without environmental hazard. Limited should be only such activities whose intensity exceeds regenerative or buffering environmental capacity e.g. on grounds particularly subjected to water pollution or those included into Natura 2000 network.
Dmitry V. Barbikov, Anatoly M. Grechko, Vladimir V. Savchenko, Anzhelika E. Zlebova, Dmitry M. Kurlovich and Siarhei F. Sauchyk
The Petrikov deposits of potash salt is situated in Gomel oblast of Belarus in the south-east of Pripyat Trough, and have Northern and Southern prospects. Underground mining of potash salt will start at the Northern prospect with an area of 166 km2. It is expected that mining will last for between 50-80 years. An Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) was carried out at the design stage of the Petrikov mining and processing plant. The standard EIA procedure included a set of investigations, including assessments of surface subsidence, changes in groundwater level, changes in productivity of forest phytocoenoses and crops, and assessment of groundwater pollution due to production of potash fertilizers. Maximum values of possible surface subsidence (up to 2.3 m) will occur within the area, where the surface will be affected by the mining of potash layers 1, 2, and 3 of the productive horizon IV-Π, using a long-pillar mining system. Surface subsidence will influence surface topography, surface and groundwater, landscape structure and land resources. The result of surface subsidence will lead to inundation and swamping of land, as well as to an increase in the areas affected by annual floods in the valleys of the Pripyat and Bobrik rivers. Surface subsidence will affect the whole area of the prospect within the limits of planned mining fields, except the areas above safety pillars. In the result of raised groundwater levels the area with groundwater depth of more than 2 m will decrease from 69.1% to 17.8%, and the areas with groundwater depth from 3 to 5 m will disappear. The area with a groundwater depth less than 1 m will increase from 0.1% to 34.0%. In 19.5% of the area the groundwater level will raise above the surface level (the area of inundation). Surface subsidence and change in groundwater level will cause certain decreases in yields of timber and crops, and 2564 ha of forest, 68 ha of arable land and 324 ha of meadows will be inundated. In order to prevent inundation within certain areas protective engineering facilities have been designed, and an arrangement of groundwater monitoring wells has been proposed.