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Contribution of Protected Areas to Mitigate the Effect of Landscape Fragmentation in Slovakia



The main aim of the research is to identify landscape fragmentation (LF) in Slovakia with special emphasis on the contribution of protected areas (PAs) to mitigate the effect of LF. Results are presented in the final raster output (10 m grid). The raster contains 490,321,151 individual 10 m raster grids, with the LF average value of 59.12 % (where 0 represents fragmented landscape, 100 represents fully connected landscape by natural or semi-natural ecosystems) on the national level. Most of the territory of Slovakia falls within the range of values 55 – 65 %, which confirms the presence of significant continuous unfragmented areas. Based on the Ordinary Least Square (OLS) statistics results, there is a positive correlation of lower LF within the PAs network (p < 0.05, Table 1) in comparison to the unprotected part of Slovakia. The results of geographically weight regression (GWR) proved a medium positive correlation (r2=0.36; r2adj=0.36; n=49,003), thus confirming to a certain extent the role of PAs in the mitigation of the effect of LF. On the other hand, the level of protection does not correlate significantly with fragmentation values, where a higher level of protection is not significantly connected with a lower level of LF. For each category of PA, individual statistics of quality and quantity of LF are estimated and subsequently compared with unprotected parts of Slovakia. The comparison of all PAs with each other resulted in 1,132 unique assessments. The overall average value of LF of unprotected parts is still rather high (56.42 %) and it shows that there are still significant areas existing, which are situated in unprotected parts of the country. Spatial analysis revealed, that these important parts are covering 93,065 hectares, and are variously spread across the whole of Slovakia. The average value of LF for these newly identified areas is 68.5 %. As output, the results of this research present a comprehensive national map of the level of LF and lists of PAs ranked according to the overall assessment of LF.

Frequenza di pubblicazione:
3 volte all'anno
Argomenti della rivista:
Geosciences, other, Life Sciences, Ecology