The conservation and restoration of valuable habitats in National Park Pieniny as a model example for large scale protected areas in Slovakia

The agricultural subsidy system in Slovakia has changed very significantly since joining EU in May 2004. Land Parcel Identification System (LPIS) was established for the administration of the subsidies. It consists of production blocks, polygons digitized on ortophotomaps, representing the pieces of the land eligible for the subsidies. The system is reflecting the reality in the field very well, but it is not compatible with traditional land cadastre, which registers land ownership. Large areas of grassland (more than 300,000 hectares in whole Slovakia) are registered in cadastre was grassland, but they are not registered in LPIS because of massive overgrowing by trees and shrubs. They are called "white areas". This degradation has accelerated especially in last decade, when the number of cattle in Slovakia has dropped to one third of previous state. Since joining EU the farmers are much more motivated to manage grassland and the situation is stabilizing, but there is no subsidy title for grassland restoration, even the farmers would be interested in. It is a serious problem, because substantial part of so called "white areas" is covered by very valuable grassland habitats. For example, preliminary analysis showed 269 hectares of the white areas with biodiversity value in the National Park Pieniny. National Park Pieniny is situated in northern part of Slovakia, along the border with Poland. It was established in 1967 on the area of 2,125 ha. In 1997, the area of the park was enlarged to 3,750 ha, with buffer zone of 22,444 ha. On the Polish side of the border there is also national park on the area of 2,346 hectares. Most of area of the park is covered by grassland and forest habitats. Forest covers approximately 1400 hectares, the most widespread are different habitats of the beech forests, smaller patches are covered by Tilio-Acerion scree forests or by relic pine forests. Grassland habitats are mostly represented by lowland and mountain hay meadows and mesophilous pastures. Relatively large proportion of grassland area is covered by dry grasslands. Wet meadows and fens are rarer, but they are very important habitat contributing significantly to the biodiversity within the park. Except for forest and grassland habitats, other habitat types are present as well. Very frequent are rocky habitats on calcareous substrate, very important are also river-bank habitats.

Lage des Nationalparkes Pieniny

Das Gesamtziel des Vorhabens war die langfristige Erhaltung und Erhöhung der Biodiversität durch Bewahrung der ursprünglichen Landschaftsstruktur im Nationalpark Pieniny unter besonderer Berücksichtigung der Wiesen- und Waldbiotope. Dazu gehörten:

  • Beitrag zur Erhaltung bedrohter Wiesenbiotope im Gebiet des Nationalparks Pieniny durch Revitalisierungsmaßnahmen und durch nachfolgende Bewirtschaftung
  • Förderung ökologischer, ökonomischer und sozialverträglicher Nutzung von Wiesen- und Waldbiotopen im Nationalpark durch die Erhöhung des Umweltbewusstseins der Eigentümer und Nutzer/Bewirtschafter, durch den Know-How-Transfer über Standortmanagement und Fördermöglichkeiten
  • Einbeziehung/Integration von Eigentümern und Nutzern/Bewirtschaftern in die Renaturierungs- und Managementmaßnahmen.

Insgesamt wurde über 60 ha der "weißen Flächen" im Pieniny Nationalpark durch die Zusammenarbeit von Nationalparkleitung, Gemeinden, Privatbesitzern und dem Projektteam restauriert. Eine Übersicht über alle Ergebnisse liefert der Abschlussbericht.