Cultural landscapes -
manmade and man dependent landscapes, those that usually do not enjoy specific
protection, they are subject to most dynamic landscape changes, reflecting the
changes in culture, society, economy and nature. In Slovakia, where agricultural
land covers around 50 percent of the total area, traditional small-block mosaic
agricultural landscape reflected the collectivization after 1948, resulting in
large blocks of arable land. After 1989 again the new political and
socio-economic situation of transition from centrally planned to market economy
has affected the changes of agricultural landscape.
The paper aims to examine the transition responses of current Slovak agricultural landscape, using examples of cadastral areas from Nitra region, where rural agricultural landscape is a typical representative of cultural landscape, although not protected as a cultural heritage, still having inseparable aesthetic, historic and ecological values. This case area of different landscape types including arable land, meadow pastures, vineyards, orchards, etc., within the poles of urban growth and outside as well, is giving various examples of current trends of cultural landscape change. To identify the change connected with socio – economical transition two main methods were used: a comparison of current aerial photographs with available information from cadastral maps and identification of planned changes in spatial plans. These methods were complemented by observation on sites.
The research shows, that still disarranged ownership rights towards agricultural land, unformed relations between owners and farmers, most of them which are still co-operatives, and agricultural policies not addressing these problems, influence distortions in land use and land markets, resulting in physical changes of landscape structures. The still expected transition of agricultural sector in Slovakia, rearrangement of property rights and expected emergence of market with agricultural land will most probably mean new impulses towards landscape change.
Keywords: Cultural landscape, Slovak agricultural landscape, transition responses, landscape change, landscape values, drivers of landscape change.
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