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Sustainability 2018, 10(10), 3602; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10103602

Effects of Landscape Changes on Species Viability: A Case Study from Northern Slovakia

1
Department of Geography and Applied Geoinformatics, University of Prešov, 081 16 Prešov, Slovakia
2
Alterra WUR, 6700AA Wageningen, The Netherlands
3
Department of Environmental Ecology, Comenius University, 842 15 Bratislava, Slovakia
4
Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research WSL, 8903 Birmensdorf, Switzerland
5
Institute of Geography, Slovak Academy of Sciences, 814 73 Bratislava, Slovakia
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 7 September 2018 / Revised: 27 September 2018 / Accepted: 7 October 2018 / Published: 10 October 2018
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Urban and Rural Development)
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Abstract

Urbanization, increasing road networks, agricultural intensification, and land abandonment are widespread land change processes found in most European landscapes. As land changes affect animal species and their populations, there is a need to evaluate the effects of future developments on the viability of protected species. In this paper, we model population size and viability of selected indicator species for a selected area in Slovakia. Our results indicate that selected species are viable in the current landscape composition. However, the expected spread of settlement and the increase of road density in this area would likely lead to decline and loss of viability of species. Similarly, continuous land abandonment followed with spontaneous reforestation would likely trigger a decline of grassland species. In contrast, developing a biocorridor and restoration of existing green elements as modeled in our conservation scenario would strongly improve the viability of all species and avoid the impact of the expected developments. Our results underline the actions that prevent further loss of biodiversity in human-dominated landscapes and, thus, have particular importance for landscape planning and decision-making processes. View Full-Text
Keywords: landscape change; scenario; species viability analysis; biocorridor; landscape planning landscape change; scenario; species viability analysis; biocorridor; landscape planning
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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Pazúrová, Z.; Pouwels, R.; Ružičková, J.; Bolliger, J.; Krokusová, J.; Oťaheľ, J.; Pazúr, R. Effects of Landscape Changes on Species Viability: A Case Study from Northern Slovakia. Sustainability 2018, 10, 3602.

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