History of Nature protection in Poľana Mts. (central Slovakia) – Part 1. (from Ancient times to the designation of biosphere reserve)

Katedra biológie a ekológie, Fakulta prírodných vied UMB, Tajovského 40,  974 01  Banská Bystrica; email: Peter.Urban@umb.sk, urbanlutra@gmail.com;


Venované zamestnancom Správy Chránenej krajinnej oblasti – biosférickej rezervácie Poľana vo Zvolene za dlhoročnú pomoc a spoluprácu, pri príležitosti 25. výročia zaradenia Poľany do medzinárodnej sústavy biosférických rezervácií.



It has already been 25 years since the Poľana Biosphere Reserve has been recognized by the Man and the Biosphere programme under UNESCO as a place with high quality of living environment regarding the nature but also social and cultural wealth. In 1990 Poľana was established as the second Slovak biosphere reserve. Biosphere reserve generally represents a potential for sustainable development of an area. The research and monitoring of man-nature relationship are provided in each biosphere reserve by a scientific institution. It just needs to be used in the right way together with the support of the local stakeholders. At the 1995 International Conference on Biosphere reserves held in Sevilla, the role of the biosphere reserve in the 21st century was defined based on the knowledge gained fromthe implementation of the Action plan adopted in 1984.

This study gives a brief outline of history of nature conservation in Poľana BR territory in past (to 1990). The Poľana Protected Landscape Area – Biosphere reserve is situated in the centre of Slovak republic. The area lies on the border of volcanic massifs of the Slovenské stredohorie and SlovenskérudohorieMountains. Poľana PLA - BR covers most of the Poľana Mts. which belongs to the Slovenské stredohorie (unit of the West Carpathians), only a small eastern part of its territory reaches into the Veporské vrchy Mts., belonging to the Slovenské rudohorie. The highest point is at 1 458 m  a. s. l. (Zadná Poľana) and the lowest point is at an altitude of  460  m a. s. l.

Poľana is the best-preserved Tertiary Period volcano in Slovakia. Poľana Mts. is formed by upper tertiary rocks: volcanic rocks and veporids in the east. The volcanic activity mainly affected the centre of Poľana, near Kyslinky, which is an erosive caldera, opening westwards. Its diameter is about 6 km, and circumference about 20 km. Poľana is characterized by a common occurrence of both, thermophilous and mountain plant and animal species.

The object of protection, PLA Pol’ana, is a mosaic of different types of ecosystems. Most of its area is covered by woodlands the rest is an agricultural land. Poľana region was divided among historic regions in the region of Pohronie and the northern part falls in the Horehronie region. The area is also an example of a specific landscape influenced by forestry, traditional farming and rural settlements. There are three villages within the area of the PLA only.

Its territory was first inhabited by the late Bronze Age and that colonisation continued throughout the Iron Age and was completed in the early Middle Ages. Since the 13th century, increased immigration and settlement coincided with progressive mining of ores and precious metals, and with the development of metalurgy. Since the 17th century, intensive human activities have greatly affected the landscape (forests) of Poľana. Mining and metallurgy required increasing forest exploitation. There were incessant demands for logging in ever more remote areas, from which the timber was transported by floating on the rivers and later by forest narrow-gauge railways. The southern part was colonized since16th century. The open grasslands within Poľana, which are typical for the area and lend the name to the PLA and BR. Human settlements are particularly those in traditional managed farming areas in the southern part of Poľana.

The first protected areas were declared in 1964: State nature reserve Hrončokovský grúň and natural creations (currently natural monuments) Melichova skala, Janošíkova skala and Bátovský balvan. In 1967 it was declared a national nature reserve Ľubietovský Vepor.

The Poľana PLA was declared in 1981 by a Decree of the Ministry of Culture of the SlovakSocialistRepublic on 12 August 1981 (legal act 97/1981 Coll.). In 1990 PLA became a part of the world biosphere reserves network. It was divided into three zones: the core area includes small protected areas with fourth and fifth levels of protection (1 238 hectares), the buffer zone with an area of 9 650 ha, and the rest of the area which is the transition zone and covers the largest part (9 191 ha).


Key words: Biosphere reserve, protected areas, conservation, mining, forest exploitation, administration

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