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This book provides a wealth of information for all those involved in using ecological networks for biodiversity protection and environmental management, as well as their significance for planning. It describes the concept of ecological networks, and presents methods and real-world examples of the use of a territorial system of ecological stability (TSES) in Slovakia at national, regional and local levels, including the assessment of the significance of biocentres, biocorridors and interactive elements. Using both a functional model for preserving the living conditions of habitats or preventing their collapse, and the connectivity of biotopes in a landscape as an original type of ecological network based on landscape-ecological principles, TSES represents a modern concept of nature and biodiversity protection based on the principles of protection of the conditions and forms of biota.



Chapter 1. Introduction

Territorial system of ecological stability (TSES) represents the most significant integration of landscape ecology principles into real environment policies and spatial planning practice. It has become a part of the legislation, general ecological regulation of various plans and projects, and it has become a common part of decision-making processes, as well as town-planning procedures at all hierarchical levels.
László Miklós, Andrea Diviaková, Zita Izakovičová

Chapter 2. Principles for Creating Ecological Networks

Establishing ecological networks is currently one of the main objectives of landscape ecology, nature and landscape protection. In Slovak Republic, the concept of “ecological networks” was institutionally adopted as the territorial system of ecological stability (TSES) by Decision of the Government of the SR in July 1991. TSES represents the most significant integration of landscape ecology principles into real environment policies and spatial planning practice. It has become a part of the legislation, common part of decision making, general ecological regulation of various plannings. The TSES concept is based on a geosystem approach to the landscape. This necessitates viewing the landscape space as an integrated complex of given area. The chapter characterises the functions of the primary, secondary and tertiary landscape structures for the TSES. Basic spatial units for creation of TSES considered the potential representative geoecosystems (REPGES) which are bearers of geoecodiversity, i.e. the diversity of both the conditions and forms of the life. The list of types of representative geoecosystems should serve as an ecologically based systematic framework for proposals of biocentres, as well as for other types of areas to be protected. The chapter deals also with most frequent theoretical landscape-ecological questions related to creation of ecological networks, as the stability of ecosystems and spatial ecological stability of the landscape, spatial configuration and composition of landscape. Specific attention is given to the relation of TSES to traditional nature conservation and to other types of the networks of protected areas. Concept of TSES changes the “classic” idea of the nature conservation based on the division of the landscape to protected and non-protected areas towards a system which maintains the ecological stability of the whole territory by an ecologically suitable spatial structure of the landscape even in the case that it is exploited in a different way. The TSES in Slovakia is legally defined in the act on nature conservation, and it is incorporated to the acts on territorial planning, agricultural land arrangement, watershed management, flood protection, environment impact assessment, integrated prevention and pollution control. The final part of the chapter deals with the development of the TSES and its place in the mentioned acts.
László Miklós, Andrea Diviaková, Zita Izakovičová

Chapter 3. Methodical Base of Development of the Territorial System of Ecological Stability

The definition of TSES is as follows: TSES is a whole-territory covering system of an ecologically optimum structure of the landscape composed of elements with different degrees of ecological stability and different uses, but in its entirety ensuring both the internal functioning of individual core ecosystems and the functionality of the spatial relations among them as a precondition for the maintenance of the spatial landscape-ecological stability and so the diversity of both conditions and forms of life. TSES has two equally important essential parts: the skeleton of TSES—a system of biocentres, biocorridors and interactive elements, and a system of ecostabilising measures. Both these parts are of the same importance. The functioning of TSES can be maintained only by safeguarding both of them. The criteria for determining the functions of landscape elements for the TSES are following:
  • Selective criteria—determine whether a landscape element is able to fulfil the functions as shelter, nourishment and reproduction. An important criterion is geoecological representativeness. These are the strategic criteria mainly for selection of biocentres.
  • Localisation criteria—determine whether the landscape elements perform a function within the spatial arrangement of the biocentres, biocorridors and interactive elements as the change of genetic information and migration, as well as specific functions as retention, anti-erosive, microclimatic, hygienic, aesthetic functions, etc.
  • Realisation criteria—determine the conditions for the realisation of the TSES in relation to the human activities. Most important indicator in this group is the spatial arrangement of the land-use elements and the legal frame of nature and nature resources protection.
TSES in Slovakia is projected on three hierarchical levels: the General Plan of the supra-regional TSES related to the whole territory of Slovakia, the regional TSES-s related to the districts of Slovakia and the local TSES-s related to the municipalities. TSES is incorporated in several acts. For an effective implementation of TSES, the decisive importance has the legal determination of the position of the TSES in the territorial planning documentations where the elements of the TSES are defined as obligatory regulations on all level of the planning process.
László Miklós, Andrea Diviaková, Zita Izakovičová

Chapter 4. Procedures of Designing the Territorial System of Ecological Stability

The chapter is the core part of the publication. The methodical procedure of TSES has several specific features as compared to other ecological networks. TSES in Slovakia focuses not only on the traditional frame of the ecological networks—as biocentres and biocorridors—but also on the proposal of whole-territory covering ecostabilisation measures, thus moving the ideas of ecological networks towards integrated management of optimum organisation and utilisation of the landscape as a whole. The methodical process consists five basic steps as analyses, syntheses, interpretations, evaluations and propositions. Analyses deal with all structures of landscape, namely with primary (abiotic), secondary (biotic–anthropic) and tertiary (socio-economic) structures, with specific regards to the real biota. The most important result of syntheses is the definition of potential representative geoecosystems for each model territory. The interpretations are oriented to definition of selective, localisation and realisation criteria for creation of ecological network, with specific emphasis on the interpretation of the ecological quality of the landscape structure. The evaluations are concerned with the definition of the suitability of geoecosystems to fulfil the functions of biocentres, biocorridors and interactive elements. The results of TSES are formulated in propositions which have several steps as:
  • Delineation of frame of TSES: biocentres, biocorridors and interactive elements;
  • Proposal of multifunctional ecostabilising measures, which should improve the spatial ecological stability and the environmental quality of the landscape as a whole. They are:
    • Location of new ecostabilising elements: groups and belts of multifunctional vegetation aimed to improvement of overall ecological spatial stability of the landscape, water retention, decrease of run-off, erosion and pollution,
    • Ecologically optimal land use of agricultural landscape: agrotechnical, agrochemical and agroameliorative proposals,
    • Measures for forest management: increase of diversity, revitalisation, considerate forestry techniques,
    • Measures within urbanised areas: improvement of the green infrastructure,
    • Elimination of stress factors, e.g. revitalisation of devastated areas, reduction of barrier effects.
  • These “physical” proposals are completed by realisation measures, as proposals for legal protection of the TSES elements, passportisation of TSES elements and, as the final result, the formation of regulations for spatial planning procedures.
By combination of all groups of actions, the TSES becomes a whole-space covering tool for ecologisation of sectoral planning processes, as well as for integrated landscape management.
László Miklós, Andrea Diviaková, Zita Izakovičová

Chapter 5. Conclusion

Current policies for the protection of nature and natural resources promote complexity and integrated approaches. Since their inception, territorial systems of ecological stability were considered a part of the comprehensive concept of landscape-ecological planning (LANDEP) (Ružička and Miklós in Ekologia (CSSR) 1(3):297–312, 1982; Miklós in Ecological and landscape consequences of land-use change in Europe. ECNC publication series on Man and Nature 2, Tilburg, 1996), as well as an essential part of all spatial planning processes.
László Miklós, Andrea Diviaková, Zita Izakovičová


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