The State Inventory of Specially Protected Parts of Nature and Landscape is an official register of protected areas and protected trees of the Slovak Republic according to the Act No. 543/2002 Coll. on Nature and Landscape Protection, and § 18, and appendix No. 16 of executive order of the Ministry of the Environment of the Slovak Republic No. 24/2003 Coll.
The State Inventory includes the collection of documents about protected areas and protected trees, the acquisition catalogue of protected areas and protected trees, and the database of protected areas and protected trees. Since July 1, 2002 the Slovak Museum of Nature Protection and Speleology in Liptovský Mikuláš has been responsible for the State Inventory by authority of the Ministry of the Environment of the Slovak Republic.
Some basic information about small protected areas and protected trees are available for public on following internet applications:
Small protected areas: http://uzemia.enviroportal.sk
Protected trees: http://uzemia.enviroportal.sk
Information about large protected areas and about NATURA 2000: http://www.sopsr.sk
Information can be also found on following websites:
The Ministry of the Environment of the Slovak Republic: http://www.enviro.gov.sk
The Slovak Museum of Nature Protection and Speleology: http://www.smopaj.sk
The State Nature Protection of the Slovak Republic: http://www.sopsr.sk
The Slovak Environmental Agency: http://www.sazp.sk
The Act No. 543/2002 Coll. from June 25, 2002 on Nature and Landscape Protection (hereinafter mentioned as the "Act”), which has come into the force since January 1, 2003 is the basic and fundamental document of nature and landscape protection in the Slovak Republic.
The Act regulates competencies of state administration bodies and municipalities, and rights and obligations of legal persons and natural persons in nature and landscape protection with the aim to support preservation of diverse living conditions and life forms on the Earth, to create conditions for sustainability, restoration and rational use of natural resources, preservation of natural heritage, characteristic landscape features, and to reach and maintain ecological stability.
One of the ways how to achieve the aim of the Act is the territorial nature and landscape protection. According to this Act, it involves the nature and landscape protection in the territory of the Slovak Republic or in its parts. The territorial protection specifies five levels of protection. The extent of restrictions increases depending on the increase of the level of protection. If several kinds of protected areas with different levels of protection overlap in some territory the highest level of them is valid there.
The 1st level of protection is generally valid in the territory of the Slovak Republic that is not provided with the territorial protection according to § 17 till § 31. It is the territory out of specially designated protected areas.
As protected areas can be designated sites hosting natural habitats of European interest and natural habitats of national interest, habitats of species of European interest, habitats of species of national interest and habitats of birds including migratory species for protection, from which protected areas, important landscape elements or areas of international interest are designated.
Categories of protected areas
National parks and protected landscape areas are unofficially called as large protected areas (LPA).
Protected sites, nature reserves, national nature reserves, nature monuments, national nature monuments and protected landscape elements are unofficially called as small protected areas (SmPA).
Protected landscape area (PLA) – a larger area usually more than 1,000 ha with fragmented ecosystems that are significant for conservation of biological diversity and ecological stability with characteristic landscape features or with specific forms of historical settlements. In the territory of PLA, the 2nd level of protection is valid unless determined otherwise.
National park (NP) – a larger area usually more than 1,000 ha predominantly with ecosystems substantially unaffected by human activities, or with unique and natural landscape structures that form national biocentres and the most significant natural heritage, in which the nature protection is of higher priority than other activities. In the territory of NP, the 3rd level of protection is valid unless determined otherwise.
Protected site (PS) – an area usually up to 1,000 ha with existence of natural habitats of European interest or natural habitats of national interest, in which favourable status of these natural habitats depends on human economic activities. In the territory of PS, the 3rd, 4th, or 5th levels of protection are valid.
Nature reserve (NR) and national nature reserve (NNR) – localities usually up to 1 000 ha representing predominantly original or natural habitats of European or national interest, and habitats of species of European or national interest, which have not been generally affected by human activities. The 4th or the 5th levels of protection are valid in the territory of NR and NNR.
Nature monument (NM) and national nature monument (NNM) – point, linear or other smaller ecosystems, their components or elements, generally not exceeding 50 ha in area of scientific, cultural, ecological, aesthetic or landscape significance. The 4th or the 5th levels of protection are valid in the territory of NM and NNM.
Protected landscape element (PLE) – a significant landscape element fulfilling a function of a biocentre, a bio-corridor or an interactive element, especially of local or regional interest. The 2nd, the 3rd, the 4th, or the 5th levels of protection are valid in the territory of PLE.
Protected bird area (PBA) – habitats of bird species of European interest and habitats of migratory bird species. The purpose of designation of PBA is ensuring their survival and reproduction. PBAs are components of the coherent European network of protected areas NATURA 2000 as special protected areas (SPAs).
A protected area may be also designated by a municipality as a municipal protected area. It is an area usually less than 100 ha of cultural, scientific, ecological, aesthetic or landscape significance.
In the Slovak Republic, environmental law special care is given to protection of caves and natural waterfalls that are natural monuments according to the Act on Nature and Landscape Protection.
Cave – according to the Act on Nature and Landscape Protection, a cave is considered to be an underground hollow void in the Earth´s crust accessible by the man, exceeding two meters in length or depth with dimensions of the surface opening smaller than its length or depth.
Natural waterfall – according to the Act on Nature and Landscape Protection, a natural waterfall is considered to be a natural rocky formation, in which water falls from the height of over 3 meters, or flows by uninterrupted or cascaded rocky escarpment steep more than 75 degrees, and water persists in the river bed all the year round.
A unique cave or a natural waterfall representing a part of the most important natural heritage of the state, may be established by the Ministry as a national nature monument. In caves, natural waterfalls and their protective zones special provisions of protection are valid.
NATURA 2000 in the Slovak Republic
Since integration into the European Union, the Slovak Republic has accepted European system of nature protection by establishing the network of protected areas known as NATURA 2000 that creates new conditions for protection of our valuable areas.
NATURA 2000 represents the network of protected areas designated for protection of habitats, and fauna and flora species of European interest that are rare or endangered on the areas of the European Union member states.
Selection of the areas for the NATURA 2000 Network is based on scientific criteria. Measures for providing the favourable development of these areas with respect to nature protection have regard for economic, social, cultural, and regional requests as well. Therefore, a purpose of establishing this network is not to isolate protected areas and eliminate the man’s activity in them but to provide and support those activities that are in harmony with interests in nature protection. The areas of the NATURA 2000 Network are a part of environment, in which the man lives, works, or relaxes.
Establishing of the NATURA 2000 Network is the basis of the European Union politics in the field of nature protection. Legal basis for establishment of the NATURA 2000 Network is given by two European Union Directives:
– Council Directive No. 2009/147/EEC on Conservation of Wild Birds (Bird Directive; originally the Council Directive No. 79/409/EEC),
– Council Directive No. 92/43/EEC on Conservation of Natural Habitats and Wild Fauna and Flora (Habitat Directive).
These Directives represent the most complex legal norms for nature protection in the world.
The NATURA 2000 Network consists of two types of areas:
– Protected Bird Areas – Special Protected Areas (SPAs) designated in accordance with the Bird Directive,
– Areas of European Interest – Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) designated in accordance with the Habitat Directive.