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How to protect ecosystems effectively

10.5.2016, 1029 visits
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Ecosystems are a fundamental part of human life and the functioning of society since they provide a whole array of benefits to satisfy human needs. They provide food, water and materials for the development of society, support the creation of natural resources, contribute to the regulation of many countryside phenomena and processes and also offer many cultural and recreational possibilities.
Despite the irreplaceably important role that ecosystems play in the countryside they suffer continual threat and degradation. According to information from the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), about 60 per cent of the worldʼs ecosystems are degraded and are being used in an unsustainable way. Since 1990 about 75 per cent of the world's agricultural gene pool has ceased to exist worldwide. In the European Union only 17 per cent of biotopes and species and 11 per cent of vital ecosystems protected by European legislation show a positive state, despite the fact that in 2001 measures to fight the loss of biodiversity were adopted. Among the main pressures and negative impacts on the change in biodiversity are changes in land use, excessive exploitation of ecosystems and their components, the spread of invasive species and the pollution of elements of the environment, especially the air; climate change can be considered an important factor too. There are also a whole range of indirect factors, such as population growth and insufficient environmental awareness of biodiversity and its importance. A similar unfavourable situation also exists in Slovakia.
At a specialist seminar on ecosystems, scientific workers and experts with hands-on experience discussed how to protect ecosystems effectively and how to make the best use of what they provide to people. The seminar was held in the Kamenný Mlyn recreation area in Trnava on 6 May 2016 as part of the final phase of the EU Seventh Framework Programme's OpenNESS Project. The Slovak Academy of Science's Institute of Landscape Ecology, together with Regioplan Nitra, participated in the project on behalf of Slovakia. The project was aimed at developing the concepts of Natural Capital and Ecosystem Services and coming closer to putting them into practice, and it was shared among 35 organisations from 18 countries (14 of them European). Theoretical and methodological aspects were tested in case studies intended to analyze the real utility and application of the concept of ecosystem services in terms of the management of a particular stretch of land and decision-making in its development - for example, in terms of flood risk management, local and regional planning, etc. In total, 27 case studies at the local and regional level in 17 countries were carried out. The urban functional territory of Trnava, consisting of the city of Trnava and 15 surrounding municipalities, was chosen as a model territory in the case of Slovakia.
The aim of the seminar was to present the results of the project to representatives of stakeholders, scientists, project workers and other workers engaged in the field of the environment and land and regional development, as well as to discuss possibilities for the practical application of the projectʼs results and the concept of ecosystem services. The results of the project were accepted positively and the follow-up discussion was very lively and creative.
Zita Izakovičová

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O podujatie bol značný záujem
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Hlavní riešitelia prezentovali výsledky projektu – Dr. Izakovičová, Dr. Bezák a Dr. Mederly
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Odborný seminár sa konal v Kamennom Mlyne v Trnave.