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Contribution of Traditional Farming to Ecosystem Services Provision: Case Studies from Slovakia

1
Institute of Landscape Ecology of the Slovak Academy of Sciences, P.O. Box 254, Štefanikova 3, 814 99 Bratislava, Slovakia
2
Department of Ecology and Environmental Sciences, Faculty of Natural Sciences, Constantine the Philosopher University in Nitra, Tr. A. Hlinku 1, 949 01 Nitra, Slovakia
3
Institute of Landscape Ecology of the Slovak Academy of Sciences, branch Nitra, Akademická 2, 949 01 Nitra, Slovakia
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 16 May 2018 / Revised: 2 June 2018 / Accepted: 7 June 2018 / Published: 12 June 2018
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Abstract

The main aim of this study is to assess the benefits provided by the ecosystems of traditional agricultural landscapes (TAL) and compare them to the outputs of large-scale agriculture. Assessment of ecosystem services (ES) was performed in four case-study areas situated in Slovakia, representing different types of TAL: Viticultural landscape, meadow–pasture landscape, and agricultural landscape with dispersed settlements and mosaics of orchards. The methodological approach was focused on assessment of all the principal types of ES—regulation and maintenance, provisioning, and cultural. Differences in the provision of ES due to the impact of different practices and intensities of agricultural landscape management were subsequently assessed and compared. The results show that TAL are generally more diverse and balanced regarding ES provision, mainly because of their varied patterns and their related functions. In particular they play an important role in water retention and the prevention of soil erosion—both important with respect to changes in climate. Modern intensive agriculture is principally able to fulfil the production functions. Support for traditional farming, landscape diversification and small-scale agricultural management is vital for enhancing the values of rural regions. Such measures could become key drivers for sustainable agricultural management in Slovakia, and elsewhere. View Full-Text
Keywords: traditional agricultural landscapes; traditional farming; ecosystem services; biodiversity; Slovakia traditional agricultural landscapes; traditional farming; ecosystem services; biodiversity; Slovakia
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Špulerová, J.; Petrovič, F.; Mederly, P.; Mojses, M.; Izakovičová, Z. Contribution of Traditional Farming to Ecosystem Services Provision: Case Studies from Slovakia. Land 2018, 7, 74.

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