Cross-Border Comparison of Non-Forest Woody Vegetation in the White Carpathians (Central Europe) Over Last 65 Years

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Landscape structure is determined by human activities and natural processes. Despite both influences are described in many studies, there remains still question, how the landscape structure reflects the individual socio-economic predictors. To answer this question we compared landscape structure, with emphasis on non-forest woody vegetation, of two states, however, with common socio-economic and political history. Non-forest woody vegetation represents characteristic feature in rural landscape, which increases water retention, biodiversity and bio-migration using green structures. In our study we supposed, that non-forest woody vegetation will have high sensitivity to societal changes and nature conservation measures. On an example of border region in former Czechoslovakia we compared three classes of non-forest woody vegetation (solitaires, patches and linear elements) in three time horizons (1950, 1986, 2011). The most significant differences in spatial structure of non-forest woody vegetation between countries were in the number and area of solitaires, which decreased during the entire period. However, the largest solitaire decrease was in 1950-1986, mainly in correspondence with socialist collective farming. Moreover, the decrease was higher in the Slovak part compared to the Czech part. The primary reason for this was the removal of non-forest woody vegetation on one side and the joining crowns into bigger patches on the other side. The current trend of increasing area of patch and linear elements is related to natural succession. We assume that the main drivers of different development in non-forest woody vegetation in the border region after the split of Czechoslovakia were different management measures applied in nature and landscape conservation and social development.

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