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Zakopane, Poland

Peeksa L.,Tatra National Park | Ciach M.,Agricultural University of Krakow
ORYX | Year: 2015

Until recently animals inhabiting mountain areas were relatively free from disturbance by people but they are now coming under increasing pressure. Tourism, especially that involving large numbers of people, is having an ever more detrimental effect on the natural resources of high mountains, even in protected areas. We analyse the effect of tourist pressure on the population of the Tatra chamois Rupicapra rupicapra tatrica, which inhabits the strictly protected high-altitude habitats of the Tatra mountains (Carpathians, Poland). The Kasprowy Wierch cable car system, in operation since 1936, was modernized in 2007; as a consequence 50% more people can now be carried into the chamois' habitat. The effect of this sudden increase in tourist pressure has been to reduce the size of herds (3.9 vs 5.3 individuals) and to increase the distance between the animals and the cable car station (1,664.0 vs 693.0 m), the cable car infrastructure (1,415.0 vs 467.8 m) and adjacent ski-lifts and ski pistes (1,214.2 vs 494.3 m). The distance to the marked hiking trails has not changed, however. Following the modernization of the cable cars, larger herds of chamois have been seen at greater distances from the tourist infrastructure. Our results indicate the adverse impact of this mass tourism. Human activities in high-mountain ecosystems need to have due consideration for the requirements of wild species, and the number of visitors needs to be controlled. © 2014 Fauna & Flora International. Source

Zwijacz-Kozica T.,Tatra National Park | Selva N.,Polish Academy of Sciences | Barja I.,Autonomous University of Madrid | Silvan G.,Complutense University of Madrid | And 3 more authors.
Acta Theriologica | Year: 2013

In protected areas, outdoor recreation, and nature-based tourism can act as potential stressors for wildlife. Given the growing demand for nature recreation, the consequences of high tourist visitation on wildlife need to be assessed in order to avoid incompatibilities between public use and species protection goals. The Tatra National Park (Poland), in the Carpathian Mountains, is a unique alpine ecosystem visited by three million tourists per year. It hosts the only native population of an endemic subspecies of chamois (Rupicapra rupicapra tatrica). We investigated the effects of tourist disturbance, the number of visitors, and the season on the concentration of fecal cortisol metabolites (FCM) in Tatra chamois in 2009. FCM levels of chamois were significantly higher and showed higher variation at high tourist disturbance (mean ± SD, 46. 2 ± 31. 53 ng/g, n = 56) than at low disturbance sites (mean ± SD, 17. 2 ± 8. 05 ng/g, n = 38). Stress levels increased with the number of visitors and therefore showed a peak in summer, coinciding with the highest number of visitation to the national park. A large portion of chamois habitat in Tatra National Park is within the area of influence of the touristic trail network. The temporal or permanent creation of areas free of disturbance in protected areas should be considered, especially in the periods of high tourist visitation. This study highlights the need to monitor the effects of tourist activities on wildlife and to implement new policies in the management of protected areas. © 2012 Mammal Research Institute, Polish Academy of Sciences, Białowieża, Poland. Source

Zywiec M.,Polish Academy of Sciences | Holeksa J.,Polish Academy of Sciences | Wesolowska M.,Institute of Environmental Protection | Szewczyk J.,Agricultural University of Krakow | And 2 more authors.
Journal of Vegetation Science | Year: 2013

Questions: What is the spatial range of regeneration of the fleshy-fruited tree Sorbus aucuparia (rowan) in a coarse-grained spruce stand on a large landscape scale? Does the spatial distribution and size of stands of different ages affect the probability of rowan regeneration? What are the consequences of the dynamics of dominant coniferous tree species for the dynamics of admixture rowan? Location: A sub-alpine spruce forest in the Tatra Mountains, Poland. Methods: We mapped all mature rowans in a 203-ha area and counted the rowan seedlings and saplings on a grid of evenly distributed plots. In plots, the age and diameter of trees were measured. Patches of homogenous stands were distinguished and each rowan tree and each plot was assigned to one of four stand categories: dense small-crowned stands, dense large-crowned stands, sparse large-crowned stands and sparse stands near the upper forest limit. Areas above the upper forest limit formed a separate fifth category. Results: The distribution of rowan trees was clumped. Most of them grew in dense spruce stands up to 135 yr old and near the upper forest limit. Substantially fewer rowan trees were in sparse spruce stands of nearly 200 yr old. Seedlings and saplings occurred at high density (mean 24.8 individuals 100 m-2) only up to 40 m from trees bearing fruits, and at much lower density at longer distances. In consequence of the clumped distribution of adult trees and the short range of seed dispersal, most of the old spruce stands were outside the range of abundant regeneration of rowan. Conclusions: The presence of fine- vs coarse-grained mosaics of coniferous stands of different ages can strongly influence population processes in a rowan population on a large landscape scale. Extensive disturbances resulting in large homogenous patches of coniferous stands, the long lifespan of a single generation of spruce and spatial limitation of rowan seed dispersal seem responsible for the small contribution this broad-leaved species makes to sub-alpine forests. A high share of rowan can be expected in forests with fine-grained mosaics of stands, where small patches of young and old stands are inter-mixed, assuring delivery of seeds to stands of each category. © 2012 International Association for Vegetation Science. Source

Dzialuk A.,Kazimierz Wielki University in Bydgoszcz | Chybicki I.,Kazimierz Wielki University in Bydgoszcz | Gout R.,Ukrainian State University of Forestry and Wood Technology | Maczka T.,Tatra National Park | And 5 more authors.
Conservation Genetics | Year: 2014

In Europe, most of the alpine timberline ecotone has been altered by human activities and climate change. Hence, mountain forests are of the highest conservation interest. Here, we screened 25 populations of Swiss stone pine (Pinus cembra L.) from the Carpathians and the Alps, using a set of ten microsatellite primers to assess the relative conservation value of populations sampled in Polish and Slovak Tatra National Parks, where potential extinction risk is the highest within the Carpathian range. Although endangered, with small and fragmented populations, P. cembra in the Tatra Mts. shows high levels of allelic richness (AR = 5.0) and observed heterozygosity (Ho = 0.554). Our results suggest that anthropogenic habitat fragmentation has had little impact on DNA variation of Swiss stone pine in the Tatra Mts. However, the effects of changing conditions on the genetic structure may occur with a substantial time delay due to the long life span of P. cembra. Moreover, inbreeding depression may occur in the next generations, since we found inbreeding (FIS = 0.063) and elevated coancestry coefficient (θ = 0.062) in all populations. Also a shallow pattern of genetic differentiation between populations was found, indicating recent fragmentation of a common gene pool that formerly occupied a larger range. Therefore, the Tatra Mts. can be considered as a single conservation unit. Based on our results, we suggest possible conservation activities for Swiss stone pine both in Poland and Slovakia. © 2014, The Author(s). Source

Kolenda R.,TU Brandenburg | Schierack P.,TU Brandenburg | Zieba F.,Tatra National Park | Zwijacz-Kozica T.,Tatra National Park | Bednarski M.,Wroclaw University of Environmental and Life Sciences
Parasitology Research | Year: 2015

In this study, sarcocysts from three Polish Tatra chamois were isolated and identified using morphological and molecular methods for the first time. Six cysts were found in the latissimus dorsi muscle and another two in the diaphragm. No sarcocysts were detected in the myocardium, tongue, and esophagus. The isolated cysts were long with rounded ends, 0.35–0.61 mm in length, and 0.02–0.06 mm in width. All the sarcocysts were identified as Sarcocystis tenella on the basis of light microscopy and sequencing of cytochrome C oxidase subunit I (cox1) and small-subunit rRNA (ssu rRNA) genes. Comparative analysis showed a 99.23 % identity of the cox1 gene sequences from Tatra chamois and sheep sarcocysts, and an even higher degree of sequence identity (99.88 %) was documented in the case of the ssu rRNA gene. When compared at a haplotype level, all the sheep sequences of cox1 differed from those isolated from Tatra chamois. In contrast, one out of the two ssu rRNA haplotypes from the sheep isolates was identical with the haplotype from Tatra chamois. In conclusion, we showed that cox1 and ssu rRNA genes can be used as genetic markers for identification of the S. tenella, with cox1 gene providing better resolution during phylogenetic analyses. However, both genetic population analysis and phylogenetic inference with cox1 and ssu rRNA genes demonstrated that they do not constitute good markers for spatial differentiation of S. tenella. © 2015, The Author(s). Source

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