An evaluation of soil quality in terms of its benefits to society is the basis for the formulation of land use strategies, especially for agriculture land, and regional development because soil can be included among capability factors for development. On the basis of existing spatial databases and maps of soil parameters relating to production, environmental parameters and soil threat, indices of agricultural soil quality in Slovakia were developed and their distribution shown on maps. The final integrated index of soil quality was created in the GIS environment by the intersection of the above-mentioned partial indices, while preserving an equivalence rule â€“ that is, all rated parameters had the same weight. The results show that in Slovakia 1.0% of agricultural soils are of very high quality, 30.3% are of high quality, 37.9% are of medium quality, 30.5% are of low quality and 0.3% is of very low quality. Most high-quality soils are in the lowlands and basins, which are mostly in the south of Slovakia. The result maps allow the identification of the partial indexes as well as the soil quality index for whole agricultural soil in Slovak Republic. The results are useful for agrarian landscape planning at specific sites as well as for the landscape structure management and optimization. The practical output from this result is the ability to obtain information about the quality of each agricultural soil in Slovakia.
Stefan Koco is the senior researcher in National Agricultural and Food Centre - Soil Science and Conservation Research Institute, Presov, Slovakia and Assistant Professor in University of Presov â€“ Department of Geography and Applied Geoinformatics. He is the principal investigator of research works from the branch of soil erosion, soil organic carbon stock, soil science, soil conversation and ecology, geographic information systems and remote sensing. The results of his scientific work are presented in 5 books and brochures. He is an author and co-author of more than 70 original scientific papers. He is a member of Slovak Geographical Society (SGS).
University of Presov, Slovakia
Title: Production and environmental parameters of agricultural soils in Slovakia
Mainly due to stronger pressures on agricultural land loss, it is necessary to inform the general public about the irreplaceable status and importance of soil in the Earth's ecosystems. Nowadays, it is more than obvious that land, in addition to production functions, provides a whole range of other tasks that are necessary for life conservation. Although the situation in land use and protection in Slovakia is relatively good, it is important, especially for the new generations, at least to keep the current state of soils, both in quantity and quality. The agricultural land of Slovakia is currently able to feed its inhabitants, and even a part of it can be used for non-food purposes. It does not mean, however, that such land is some free capital with which we can gamble in the future. Here too, the rules of good agricultural practice for soil fertility must be applied. The aim of this paper is to quantify and analyze the potential of agricultural land in Slovakia, both in terms of their sufficiency as well as production, energy, economic and environmental parameters. Correlation of environmental parameters with the map of the soil production potential is very strong and the average value (weighted average) of environmental indexes of Slovak soils (55.3 points) is very similar to the average value of the soil production potential (53.9 points). The value of agricultural soil ability to meet ecological functions is 1.42 â‚¬.m-2 (production functions 0.13 â‚¬).
Jozef Vilcek is the Professor at the Department of Geography and Applied Geoinformatics, Faculty of Humanities and Natural Sciences of University of Presov in Presov. Professionally he focuses on the pedology and geoecology. He is a member of Slovak Accreditation Commission - the advisory body of the SR Government, the scientific grant agency - Commission for Earth Sciences, Slovak academy of Agricultural Sciences and others institutions. Outside of the university, he is the head of the regional department of Soil Science and Conservation Research Institute in Presov.