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Abstract

Analysis of fragmentation of selected steppe sites in the Pannonian region of the Czech Republic.

Abstract

The aim of this study was to analyze the landscape fragmentation in selected locations of the Pannonian region in three time periods. Landscape fragmentation is a process during which a large habitat is divided into a number of smaller parts. The fragmentation was analysed using the landscape-ecological indices for Patch Analyst extension. Data entering the analysis is in Esri shapefile format and was prepared for 1:10 000 scale size. To calculate the index of overall contrast of edges (borders), we used the FRAGSTATS application. The complete evaluation led us to the conclusion that the landscape fragmentation in the selected area over time rather increased. From the calculation of the overall contrast of edges, it is possible to identify increasing diversity of adjacent patches (small areas) in the landscape mosaic. In addition to the normal work indices, this study also works with Total Edge Contrast Index (TECI) which expresses the percentage difference of neighbouring land use categories depending on the length of edges between these categories. The calculated values of the entire studied area showed that the landscape fragmentation tends to increase over time, which can threaten biodiversity, reduce migration and colonization potential in the landscape, increase the susceptibility of the landscape for invasions of nonnative species and reduce hunting opportunities of local species. The calculation of the TECI proved increasing dissimilarity of neighbouring patches in the landscape mosaic. It can be caused by expansion of built-up area and construction of roads that are the abiotic components which disturb the processes of ecologically important elements of the landscape.