Note: the texts under all the headings, with the exception of 'Results achieved', describe the situation before the start of the project.
Development of nature conservation and of protected areas in the Slovak Carpathians
The Slovak Republic has developed a national network of protected areas with sites of international importance. The goal of the project is to improve the protection and sustainable use of protected areas and selected habitats and the regeneration of natural environment and landscapes.
Protecting the environment
- 5 information centers and 9 educational trails etsablished and used
- An educational programme on the conservation of the Carpathians was developed and distributed to 20 State Nature Conservancy Departements and 186 schools
- Restoration and monitoring plans for degraded wetland and grassland areas were realized
- A manual on international categorisation and classification of protected areas in Slovak language was elaborated.
- Guidelines for natural forest management and manual for setting of conditions for forest-environmental schemes were developed and made available for land owners and users (rural development)
- National State Institute North
|Background||The Slovak Republic has developed a national network of protected areas with sites of international importance (Natura 2000, Ramsar Natural Heritage). For the implementation of these international documents the SNC has not sufficient background materials, strategies and resources. The effectiveness of the protection and management of the sites is not sufficient according to both national and international standards.|
The overall goal of the project is to maintain the functioning of ecosystems in protected areas and selected habitats and to regenerate the natural environment and landscapes. The project is focussed on three objectives: (I) International standards for the management planning of protected areas achieved; (II) Improved conservation status of selected habitats with important biodiversity in the Carpathian region; (III) Ensure the effective conservation, management and sustainable use of natural non-forest habitats and forests in selected model protected areas.
Nature Conservation authorities, Forestry organisations / Water management organisations, Land owners, Municipalities, NGO’s and Partners from Carpathian initiatives and transborder protected areas
The project is divided in five activities. Activity 1 includes the development of standards for the management, categorization and classification of protected areas. Further, in activity 2, public information and awareness raising activities will be prepared and delivered. In activity 3, selected degraded wetlands and grasslands habitats will be restored. In activity 4, a recategorization proposal of forests will be elaborated and practical management measures implemented as a model for cooperation. Finally, in activity 5, the use of management models for natural and semi-natural habitat types and pilot studies will be developed.
|Directorate/federal office responsible||
Swiss Contribution to the enlarged EU
Foreign state institution
|Budget||Current phase Swiss budget CHF 2’072’000 Swiss disbursement to date CHF 2’072’000|
Phase 1 01.07.2011 - 31.12.2016 (Completed)
As a result of climate change and other environmental stress factors, many ecosystems such as forests, natural habitats and protected areas are under threat. However, as they serve as the basis for countless different life forms, these ecosystems fulfil a number of important functions. In many rural areas of Slovakia, large sections of the population work directly or indirectly in tourism or the timber industry. Forests and natural areas are therefore synonymous with jobs. As part of its contribution to reducing economic and social disparities in the enlarged European Union, Switzerland is supporting two projects in Slovakia to protect these areas.
Project 1: Monitoring and research of forest ecosystems
Complex data is required to assess as accurately as possible whether a forest has the ecological balance necessary to sustain itself. Gathering this data requires modern measuring instruments. However, these are expensive, and their use requires expertise. The "Monitoring and research of forest ecosystems" project helps Slovakia collect and process this data and aids with forestry planning. As a result, the relevant agencies and foresters will be able to assess the state of a forest, and if necessary make targeted interventions quickly and efficiently.
Modern and efficient digital aerial photography to protect forests
This project finances three specific and linked activities that will substantially improve monitoring and research in Slovakian forests:
First, existing maps of Slovakian forests will be updated and their range extended. Sustainable cost-effective forest management is only possible with comprehensive and accurate three-dimensional maps.
Monitoring will be carried out with the aid of the second project activity: the financing of modern technical equipment to produce cheaper, better quality digital terrain and surface models.
Finally, the third project phase in collaboration with the Swiss partner, the Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research (WSL), will provide training in the use of the new materials in a selected forest area plus knowledge transfer in the field of remote forest monitoring. The Swiss contribution to this project is just under CHF 2.1 million.
Project 2: Sustainable improvement of protected areas and natural habitats in the Carpathians
The goal of the second project, Development of nature conservation and of protected areas in the Slovak Carpathians, is to improve the protection and sustainable usage of natural areas and habitats in the Slovak Carpathians. This project will draw up guidelines for the future development of these areas and promote knowledge transfer. The local population will therefore benefit twice over: along with improving the environment, the tourism infrastructure will be strengthened. The Slovak Carpathians will consequently become more attractive as a tourist region and the local population will benefit from additional income opportunities.
Complementary measures for nature conservation – for the benefit of local people too
In specific terms, the project encompasses a number of complementary activities. The project will first of all define the existing categories and classifications of protected areas in the Carpathians more precisely. This is an important prerequisite for drawing up effective protection guidelines, which will be produced during a subsequent stage of the project. Finally, educational nature trails will be renewed, and films and other promotional material about the areas will be produced and distributed to national information and tourist centres.
Several of the natural areas are in poor condition and, as a result, have been removed from the list of ecosystems worth protecting. The project will therefore also create plans to regenerate these areas so they can be reinstated as natural habitats worthy of protection. Both Swiss and local organisations are participating in the project. Switzerland's contribution to this project is also just under CHF 2.1 million.
Thanks to the availability of a cutting-edge remote sensing technology, we will be far better equipped to address multiple challenges facing the forestry sector today and its contribution to the development and delivery of the policies of the government of Slovakia. The sophisticated technology will significantly enhance our capacity to assess the impact of climate change on the health and vitality of forest ecosystems, whilst improved planning procedures will provide direct benefits to forest owners, local communities and the national economy as a whole. Last but not least, improved public access to an enlarged pool of forest data will create preconditions for better governance and stewardship of forests, thereby benefiting all citizens of Slovakia. .
Director General, National Forest Centre of the Slovak Republic