Thematic sessions

The challenge of sustainability – as an integration of nature and society – raises numerous theoretical, methodological and empirical questions. The first Forum Carpaticum attempts to highlight various aspects of these issues and answer the related questions, in the Carpathian region. The Forum is organised around twelve thematic sessions. Short descriptions of the sessions have been developed by the teams of scientists representing various disciplines and countries. These experts will serve as session coordinators and organizers.


Chemical Environment

Andrzej Bytnerowicz, USDA Forest Service, USA
Lubos Halada, Slovak Academy of Sciences, Slovakia
Stanislaw Małek, University of Agricultutre in Krakow, Poland
William J. Manning, University of Massachusetts, USA
Robert C. Musselman, USDA Forest Service, USA

The session focuses on the chemistry of air, water and soil resources from a perspective of understanding their background levels, contamination and potential impacts that are related to various anthropogenic activities. Spatial and temporal trends will be characterized and linked to forest and human health as well as ecosystem services (such as providing clean water and air to local people and visitors in the Carpathians).


Climate Change: Implications for Nature and Society

Anita Bokwa, Jagiellonian University, Poland
Lola Kotova, Max-Planck Institute, Germany
Zbigniew Ustrnul, Jagiellonian University, Poland


The session focuses on ongoing and future climate change at different vertical climatic zones in the Carpathian regions. Special emphasis is placed on the investigation of spatial and temporal climate trends of main meteorological and hydrological variables, for example temperature or precipitation. The objectives are to identify climate change indicators on the regional level, and to assess their impacts on nature and society of the Carpathian countries. Additionally, particular regional aspects of mountain climates could be discussed.


Conservation and Sustainable Use of Biodiversity

Per Angelstam, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Sweden 
Lubos Halada, Slovak Academy of Sciences, Slovakia
Katalin Mazsa, Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Hungary 
Lenka Stará, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, Czech Republic

The session focuses on the conservation and use of natural and cultural biodiversity, including the services provided by ecosystem. The Carpathian Mountains have unique natural and cultural biodiversity. The intact mountain forests and traditional village systems represent two complementary visions for biodiversity conservation. Biodiversity conservation can occur at different scales: from the protection of single species or viable populations, to the conservation of ecosystems or even the maintenance of resilient socio-ecological systems. Rapid socio-economic and environmental changes in recent decades pose serious threat to biodiversity in the Carpathians.


Cultural Heritage and Traditional Knowledge

Alain Bouras, French Ministry of Culture, France
Zsolt Molnar, Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Hungary

The session aims at collecting examples from various studies dealing with local people and cultural heritage, acknowledging the interdisciplinary approach required to gain a comprehensive view on cultural heritage and diversity. It includes studies on the following disciplines: historical, economic, medical ethnobiology; ethnobotany; management practices of agriculture, pasture and forest; local perceptions and knowledge on climate change; ethical and philosophical aspects of research and development interventions. This session invites research presentations on specific tools and modalities applied to realize an effective interdisciplinary team work which could be further applied by the local communities and decision-makers and therefore, contribute to the sustainable land planning and development in the Carpathian region. Cultural heritage and diversity – a broad variety of traditional knowledge, practices and skills, is increasingly confronted with and threatened by global trends.


Ecosystem Services and Human Well-being

Pavel Cudlin, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, Czech Republic
Marine Elbakidze, Ivan Franko National University of Lviv/Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Ukraine/Sweden
Maria Nijnik, Macaulay Land Use Research Institute, United Kingdom

The session intends to join forces of natural, social and human scientists as well as practitioners to explore the potential for an applied interdisciplinary research and knowledge exchange. Due to the ongoing radical changes in the political, social, and ecological environments in the Carpathian countries, there is an urgent need to develop an integrated ecosystems approach which would consider an entire range of ecosystem services and possible trade-offs between them. It will specifically address the following points: how to identify and evaluate principle ecosystem services in the Carpathian region, how to ensure their sustainable provision, and how to contribute to reducing poverty and improving well-being? The focus will be on the multiple benefits that ecological systems are capable to provide and improving policy and planning decisions, aimed at achieving sustainable human-environmental interrelationships in the Carpathian Mountains.


Forests, their Management and Resources

Ovidiu Badea, Forest Reaserch and Management Institute, Romania
Andrzej Bytnerowicz, USDA Forest Service, USA
Ferenc Horvath, Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Hungary
Stanislaw Niemtur, Forest Research Institute, Poland
Maciej Skorupski, Poznań Agricultural University, Poland
Jarosław Socha, University of Agricultutre in Krakow, Poland

Forests are a dynamic component of the Carpathian mountain ecosystems: they are important not only as a source of timber, but also for soil formation and slope stability, water retention and quality, biodiversity, carbon sequestration, habitats and corridors for many wildlife species, and recreational usage. The session is focused on forest ecosystems at various scales, specifically on their state and functioning under influences of changing climate, air pollution and different socio-economic scenarios. The session compares and analyzes a variety of forest use and management practices optimal for sustainability of forest resources and ecosystem services.


Integrated Land Resource Management and Regional Development Policy

Olaf Bastian, Leibniz Institute for Ecological and Regional Development, Germany
Ivan Kruhlov, Ivan Franko National University of Lviv, Ukraine
Bohdan Prots, National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, Ukraine

The session aims to discuss the approaches, techniques, data sources, and regional examples of landscape management and sustainable regional development. It also incorporates discussions on comprehensive (cross-sector) physical planning which protects the environment, improves socio-economic standards and is based on cooperation between a wide set of stakeholders. Following the Carpathian Convention, it focuses on, but is not limited to, the current state and prospects of sustainable development and spatial planning, particularly in border areas and integrated planning of land resources, using ecosystem approach. Further, it expects to discuss the following points: the role of the protected areas as examples of environmentally sensitive landscape development model, the methods of identification and the layouts of ecological networks in the region, and the opportunities for green development in all fields of human activities in the Carpathians.


Land Use and Land Cover Change

Patrick Hostert, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Germany
Katarzyna Ostapowicz, Jagiellonian University, Poland
Marc Zebisch, European Academy Bolzano [EURAC], Italy

The session focuses on assessing the rates and spatial patterns of Land Use and Cover Change (LUCC) over time and across scales. LUCC is widespread in the Carpathian region mainly due to transformations of land use systems after 1990 and land use legacies since Austro-Hungarian and socialist times. Therefore, this session aims at revealing how rapid political, socio-economic and institutional changes affected LUCC, estimating the relative importance of underlying drivers of LUCC, and quantifying the effects of LUCC on ecosystem services and biodiversity. Answering these questions, specifically based on remote sensing and geospatial analyses, shall allow insights in future scenarios of LUCC in the Carpathians.


Natural Hazards and Risks

Iuliana Armas, University of Bucharest, Romania
Dan Balteanu, Geography Institute of Romanian Academy, Romania
Juraj Hresko, University of Constantinus Philosopher, Slovakia
Adam Kotarba, Polish Academy of Sciences, Poland
Zofia Rączkowska, Polish Academy of Sciences, Poland

The session focuses on current trends in estimating natural hazards in the Carpathians against the background of global climate change and growing human pressure on the mountainous environment. The assessment of disaster impacts on social, economic and environmental conditions could be conducted using vulnerability indicators. This session proposes the investigation of methods used for measuring physical and social vulnerability on the basis of different case-studies from the Carpathian region. It is organised in the following thematic clusters: case-studies of geomorphologic, climatic and hydrologic hazards in different parts of the Carpathian arc and identification of target areas; driving factors for increasing disaster risk during the transition period (differentiated vulnerability, poverty, deforestation and declining ecosystems); and information on sharing and networking of hazard assessment, education and pro-active actions.


Tourism (Re-)development and Sustainability

Elena Matei, University of Bucharest, Romania
Miroslaw Mika, Jagiellonian University, Poland
Robert Pawlusiński, Jagiellonian University, Poland

The session presents contemporary models, directions and strategies on tourism development from a Carpathian perspective. It enhances understanding on the effect of changing demands of the tourists in the socio-economic framework at the national, regional, and local levels. Emphasis is placed on the following points: tourism (re)development by maintaining mountains' diversity, promoting good practices and sustainability, and fostering international and interdisciplinary cooperation in Carpathian tourism research.


Urban and Rural Development – Opportunities and Challenges

Robert Guzik, Jagiellonian University, Poland

The session addresses present and future challenges and opportunities for urban and rural development in the Carpathian Mountains. It investigates and identifies important cross-cutting factors influencing contemporary and future socio-economic change and development. Thus, it covers themes such as: accessibility, impact of European Union policies, sustainable transport, regional and sub-regional cooperation, quality of living, and business opportunities. Especially valuable would be comparative cross-border studies.


Water Resources and Management, Fluvial Processes and Interactions with Biotic Processes

Joanna Pociask-Karteczka, Jagiellonian University, Poland
Artur Radecki-Pawlik, University of Agriculture in Kraków, Poland
Bartłomiej Wyżga, Polish Academy of Sciences, Poland


The session focuses on hydrological responses to recent and future climate, land-use and channel changes, channel adjustments to catchment environmental changes and human in-channel modifications, and implications of hydromorphological processes for aquatic and riparian ecosystems. The objective is to provide the scientific background for a river and basin management policy, which will increase the availability and quality of water resources and enable sustainable use of Carpathian waters with the simultaneous improvement of integrity of aquatic and water-related ecosystems. The presentations in the field of catchment-wide and cross-boundary water management, interactions between surface and ground waters as well as between hydrological, geomorphic and biotic processes, and the role of hydrological research in representative and experimental basins are especially welcome.


Preliminary list of the accepted oral presentations and posters