OF EFFECTS OF DEVELOPMENT SCENARIOS
FOR THE VISTULARIVERVALLEY (POLAND)
J. Romanowski*, K. Kowalczyk*, I. Bouwma**
*Centre for Ecological Research PAN, Łomianki, Poland, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
**Alterra, Wageningen, The Netherlands, E-mail: email@example.com
Key words: biodiversity, LARCH, Vistula, modelling, metapopulation
Дж. Романовский*, К. Ковальчик*, И. Бувма**
*Центр экологических исследований Польской академии наук, Ломианки, Польша,
**Альтерра, Вагенинген, Нидерланды, E-mail: irene.Bouwma@wur.nl
Ключевые слова: биоразнообразие, LARCH, Висла, моделирование, метапопуляция
Biological diversity is highly dependent on the quality, quantity and spatial cohesion of habitats. Fragmentation of natural areas severely affects the abundance of species. The effects of the development of the natural environment can be assessed through modeling of the ecological impacts on the indicator species aiming to support interactive policymaking.
The «Vistula Econet Development and Implementation (VEDI)» project is a pilot approach for assessing the ecological impact of various (hypothetical) land use scenarios in the VistulaRiverValley (from Warsaw to Włocławek) in Poland, by using the LARCH computer model filled with local ecological data. The VEDI project is a joint cooperation between two institutes from Poland: the Center for Ecological Research PAN and the Institute of Geography and Spatial Organisation PAN; and two institutions from the Netherlands: the Government Service for Land and Water Management (DLG) of the Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Security, and Alterra, which has pioneered the LARCH model.
The VistulaRiver has still retained a semi-natural character for most of its length and is considered to be one of most valuable rivers in Western and Central Europe. The Vistula floodplain area represents an extensively managed landscape, with high nature values and biodiversity. The diverse structure of the river valley is reflected in high habitat diversity and with over 1010 vascular plant species, representing 40 % of Polish vascular plants and including 46 species under strict protection (Załuski 1998). Large forests and extensively used meadows provide habitats to species with large home ranges and dispersion ranges, e. g. Black stork Ciconia nigra, and Elk Alces alces. The KampinosNational Park and neighboring Vistula floodplains are one of the most important faunal refugia in Poland.
Five scenarios for future land use were developed in consultation with various stakeholders during a two-day workshop in May 2004. Detailed maps were prepared for each of the developed scenarios, which outlined the changes on the vegetation in the study area.
Scenario 1: Maximum river regulation and infrastructure development. Construction of a new dam; removal of trees in the river area inside of the dikes; and development of other infrastructure like roads, dikes, motorway etc.
Scenario 2: Medium intensity regulation. Minor river regulation; removal of trees; and redirection of the main channel.
Scenario 3: «Brave Vision» for nature protection. Removal of some of the dikes (where possible); removal of the present dam at Włocławek; and removal of some of the settlements in the river valley.
Scenario 4: Restoration and protection of meadows and pastures. Supporting small scale farming through agro-environmental programmes, resulting in a small-scaled landscape.
Scenario 5: Reforestation. Conversion of low-productivity agricultural fields into forest plantations and natural forest succession.
Effects of each scenario on indicative fauna species were analyzed with the computer model LARCH to assess habitat availability and connectivity in each of the development scenarios. In total 16 species were selected, representing five different habitats: steep banks (Kingfisher Alcedo atthis, Sand martin Riparia riparia); sand banks (Little ringed plover Charadrius dubius, Little tern Sterna albifrons); semi-aquatic (Great crested newt Triturus cristatus, Banded demoiselle Calopteryx splendens, Beaver Castor fiber); forests (Bank vole Clethrionomys glareolus, Pine marten Martes martes, Middle spotted wood-pecker Dendrocopus medius, Elk, Black stork); and meadows (Sand lizard Lacerta agilis, Common rote vole Microtus oeconomus, Large copper Lycaena dispar, Corncrake Crex crex).
Results for each scenario are summarized below. It is concluded that fragmentation presently does not threaten the favorable conservation status of the species assessed. Most of the species have either nearly sustainable, sustainable or highly sustainable networks.
Scenario 1 showed pronounced impacts on species dependent on steep banks and sandbanks. Species of semi-aquatic and forest habitats were also affected but to a lesser extent, with a decrease in population numbers but not in overall viability of the population.
Scenario 2 showed very limited effects on indicator species in this study.
Scenario 3 showed positive effects for most species, notably species of steep banks and sandbanks. Meadow species, however, showed a more ambivalent picture with some species improving while others decline.
Scenario 4 showed limited impact on indicator species in this study.
Scenario 5 showed positive effects on species depending on forest habitat, while species typical for meadows decreased. Black stork showed a potential increase of population size of approx. 20 %.
The review of the effects on the two Natura 2000 areas showed that especially Scenario 1 will have a profound effect in the Natura 2000 area DolinaSrodkowejWisly-MiddleVistulaValley area. The effects on the KampinosNational Park are much less. The spatial analysis with LARCH has yielded useful results. However for quantification and calibration of the results, sensitivity analyses for the different scenario needs to be undertaken.
More detailed information regarding the outcomes of the analysis can be found on the website: http://vediproject.org or http://www.vediproject.org
Zoocenosis — 2005
Біорізноманіття та роль зооценозу в природних і антропогенних екосистемах: Матеріали ІІІ Міжнародної наукової конференції. – Д.: Вид-во ДНУ, 2005. – С. 146-148.