Journal of Mountain Science

, Volume 15, Issue 6, pp 1153–1170 | Cite as

Development versus conservation: evaluation of landscape structure changes in Demänovská Valley, Slovakia

  • Luděk Krtička
  • Ivana Tomčíková
  • Iveta Rakytová


This paper presents the changes of landscape structure in the Demänovská Valley which ranks among the most valuable protected areas of Slovakia. The area was selected on the basis of changes associated with the rapidly growing tourism industry and the rise of an important destination in the center of Low Tatras National Park, Slovakia. To document any changes, we visually interpreted data from aerial and satellite images in three periods (1949, 2007 and 2013) and for predicting future changes we used land use planning documentation. Interpreted data were analyzed using overlay analysis and landscape metrics. Results showed extensive changes in the landscape structure mainly connected with the development of tourism infrastructure. We also identified long-term changes whose causes stem from the transformation of society and forest management in the past. The dynamics and extent of these changes may increase in the future. We propose to stop future development of ski slopes and expansion of related infrastructure, to focus on sustainability and environmentally friendly operation of the existing ski resort and to invest a substantial portion of profits to support projects aimed to preserve surrounding lands and wildlife.


Landscape structure changes Landscape metrics Demänovská Valley Low Tatras National Park Tourism infrastructure 



area weighted mean shape index


class area


weighted coefficient of ecological


median patch size


mean patch size


number of patches


patch size coefficient of variance


Shannon's diversity index


total land area


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The authors acknowledge the support of the Scientific Grant Agency of the Slovak Republic through the research grant: “Adaptation strategies to natural and social disturbancies in the forest landscape” (no. 2/0038/14). The authors would like to thank the anonymous reviewers and Ross Burnett for their valuable comments and suggestions to improve the quality of the text.


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Copyright information

© Science Press, Institute of Mountain Hazards and Environment, CAS and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Human Geography and Regional Development, Faculty of ScienceUniversity of OstravaOstravaCzech Republic
  2. 2.Institute of GeographySlovak Academy of SciencesBratislavaSlovakia
  3. 3.Department of Geography, Faculty of EducationCatholic University in RužomberokRužomberokSlovakia

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