Value of Ecosystem Services in Mountain National Parks. Case Study of Veľká Fatra National Park (Slovakia)
Radoslav Považan1, Michael Getzner2, Juraj Švajda3
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1State Nature Conservancy of the Slovak Republic, Tajovského 28B, Banská Bystrica, Slovakia
2Vienna University of Technology, Resselgasse 5/2/2, 1040 Wien, Austria
3Faculty of Natural Sciences, Matej Bel University, Tajovského 40, Banská Bystrica, Slovakia
Pol. J. Environ. Stud. 2014;23(5):1699–1710
Ecosystem services of national parks are usually not traded on markets, and thus are not attributed a market price, which may indicate a scarcity of resources. In order to ascertain the value of ecosystem services with respect to the establishment and management of protected areas (PA), a range of economic methods for valuing these non-market benefits have been developed. The current paper presents a case study of Vel’ká Fatra National Park in Slovakia, valuing selected ecosystem services of the park, and compares the valuation results to two other national parks in the broader region: Slovenský raj (Slovakia) and Tatra (Poland). In total, Veľká Fatra annually provides ecosystem services worth EUR 179 million (about EUR 4,400 per hectare). The national park secures manifold ecosystem services such as recreational benefits (use values) for roughly 500,000 visitors per year, and a range of non-use values (e.g., existence and bequest values) for the Slovakian population. In comparison, ecosystem services at Vel’ká Fatra are fewer than the benefits of the other national parks due to the smaller recreational benefits. However, the results of the study ascertain that Veľká Fatra provides important ecosystem services for the Slovakian economy as a whole. With its services the park generates value, which contributes significantly to people’s well-being and the national economy