You are here: Home » Online First » Volume 13, 2018 - Number 1 » CHALLENGES FOR THE CONSERVATION OF SEMI-NATURAL GRASSLANDS IN MOUNTAINOUS NATIONAL PARKS – CASE STUDIES FROM THE POLISH CARPATHIANS, Carpathian Journal of Earth and Environmental Sciences, February 2018, Vol. 13, No. 1, p. 187 – 198; DOI:10.26471/cjees/2018/013/017
Institute of Geography and Spatial Management, Jagiellonian University, Gronostajowa 7, 30-387 Kraków, Poland,
CHALLENGES FOR THE CONSERVATION OF SEMI-NATURAL GRASSLANDS IN MOUNTAINOUS NATIONAL PARKS – CASE STUDIES FROM THE POLISH CARPATHIANS, Carpathian Journal of Earth and Environmental Sciences, February 2018, Vol. 13, No. 1, p. 187 – 198; DOI:10.26471/cjees/2018/013/017
Semi-natural grasslands are characteristic elements of mountain landscapes across the world. However, a significant decrease in their area has been observed in many places in Europe. This phenomenon leads to many negative consequences, which is why meadows and pastures are managed for conservation purposes in most European countries, especially in protected areas. The aim of this study is to identify the challenges for the management of semi-natural grasslands in the national parks of the Polish Carpathians with a special focus on the implementation of conservation measures. The study highlights also attitudes of local communities towards the conservation of semi-natural grasslands as well as motivations guiding the residents to support conservation activities. According to interviews conducted with parks' employees six key categories of challenges have been distinguished. They are associated with the land ownership structure, financing and implementation of conservation measures, planning and evaluation of applied treatments, and natural and social determinants. Only some of the challenges result exclusively from the mountainous conditions or refer directly to the effectiveness of the conservation measures. Most of the challenges are typical of those found in national parks throughout the world and are connected with legislative and financial issues. The results of interviews showed that implementation of conservation measures in difficult, mountainous conditions, and their labour consumption pose the biggest challenge. A significant problem is also the removal of mown biomass. The possibility of efficient conservation of semi-natural grasslands is in many cases limited by advanced processes of secondary forest succession, complicated ownership relations and difficult procedures of obtaining funds for the active conservation. The attitudes of local communities towards the conservation of semi-natural grasslands are different in individual national parks. The residents supporting the conservation activities are guided by aesthetic and scenic, historical and cultural as well as financial motivations.
Keyword: meadows, pastures, mowing, grazing, management, protected areas, the Carpathians
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