Landscape metrics as indicator for ecological significance: assessment of Sitno Natura 2000 sites, Slovakia
The study area is Sitno Nature 2000 Site. The “Natura 2000” framework focuses on conservation of valuable landscapes and nature, aims at the sustainable conservation of Europe’s biodiversity and species richness across Europe (Jones-Walters, 2007). The development of a Natura 2000 ecological network is important policy initiative in support of protected sites. Sitno Natura 2000 study area is located in central Slovakia (Fig.1). It has been selected for the richness of its natural environment and anthropogenic impacts. For the last 30 years the areas has been used for the tourism and transmitting of digital and analogue data by army and commercial sphere. Therefore, there was built and developed technical infrastructure. The highest place of the study area called Sitno peak (1009 m), which is very popular and attractive tourism (walking and climbing). Presently, the area is under high priority nature and landscape protection. The area is needed to be zoned separately for human usage and for conservation. Ecological significance of landscape should be the zonation tool in terms of the framework Nature 2000. It is an objective approach to determine ecological values owners, local communities and state organizations.