Evaluation of Landscape Natural Values in Tourism, with Special Regard to Vegetation – Case Study: Otwock Commune, Central Poland
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Institute of Horticultural Sciences, Department of Environmental Protection and Dendrology, Warsaw University of Life Sciences – SGGW, Nowoursynowska 166, 02-787 Warszawa, Poland
Submission date: 2021-01-19
Final revision date: 2021-05-28
Acceptance date: 2021-07-17
Online publication date: 2021-12-20
Publication date: 2022-01-28
Corresponding author
Beata Elżbieta Fornal-Pieniak   

Institute of Horticultural Sciences, Environmental Protection and Dendrology, Warsaw University of Life Sciences - SGGW, Nowoursynowska 166, 02-787, Warsaw, Poland
Pol. J. Environ. Stud. 2022;31(1):665-680
Landscape and tourism attractiveness are very much related with each other. The evaluation of natural resources of landscape is a basic environmental research method useful for environmental modeling, landscape planning and tourism development. Vegetation is an important landscape natural resource (a component of environment) having a great meaning including tourism. The aim is to present the original methodic approach to evaluation of landscape natural values, with special regard to vegetation using its high indicative environmental value, for needs of tourism aspect at local level o planning. This methodic approach has been implemented and tested in Otwock commune area, central Poland, the European Lowland. The assessment took place in several stages: field research, division of the studied area into spatial-landscape units, mapping of vegetation and other distinguishing natural elements, selection of criteria of assessment and system of evaluation, conducting the assessment, classification of landscape values into categories and formulating guidelines to management including tourist use. The criteria used in the assessment were selected in consideration of landscape components with emphasis on vegetation, as well as elements connected with tourist attractiveness. The following criteria were used in landscape evaluation: occurrence of natural protected areas, occurrence of natural protected objects, degree of vegetation naturalness, vegetation resistance to recreational use, vegetation attractiveness for tourists, diversity of vegetation, occurrence of surface water, diversity of terrain relief. Values of vegetation/landscape have been proven and four value categories of terrains distinguished in tourist aspect. The results have shown that presented approach to landscape evaluation, with using vegetation indicative role in the context of the whole landscape, is relatively simple and may be helpful for various decisions of local governments concerning tourist use and other functions. The originality of this approach lies in giving more importance to vegetation in assessing the overall landscape. It may be convenient in cases, where values of inanimate nature are not highly spectacular and/or information on vegetation is more detailed and also if commune authorities want to do the study on their own, with a limited number of experts. It has been shown what and how to use possible evaluation criteria in practical application with certain available landscape resources. The criteria used in the assessment are very universal, especially in areas of rich vegetation, as Otwock commune is. The assessment method and results were understandable to a wide range of officials and specialists in Otwock. The results confirmed high quality of natural values in tourist aspect in the study area. The presented evaluation is relatively simple and useful approach for landscape planning including tourism in Poland and also in other countries in Central Europe.
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