Conference themes

Land cover and land use change: current status, new approaches, and future challenges

Session leaders: Katarzyna Ostapowicz; Jan Knorn; Pavel Cudlin


This session will explore the state-of-the-art and future directions of approaches which allow us to disentangle and understand the complexity of land use and land cover change. We focus on contributions that a) review our understanding of past and future land cover and land use change in particular in mountainous regions with strong focus on the Carpathians; b) incorporating various data, methods and techniques including remote sensing and mathematical modelling, used in various domains over a range of spatial and temporal scales; c) integrate different disciplines to successfully pursue land cover and land use change mapping and modelling.

Green energy transformation in the Carpathians: opportunities and risks

Session leaders: Astrid Björnsen Gurung; Andrian Prokip; Yurij Bihun; Heino Meessen; Mariana Melnykovych; Ihor Soloviy


Steering the green energy transformation process in the Carpathian mountain region requires sound knowledge and information on the required resource base, available potentials and the anticipated impacts of altered management practices and regulatory systems, both in the present and in future. This session invites contributions targeting renewable energies, in particular woody and non-woody biomass, and the entailed policies and transition processes relevant for mountainous regions, in particular the Carpathians.

Climate change vulnerability and adaptation of biodiversity

Session leaders: Szilárd Czóbel


Climate change is widely recognized as a significant threat to biodiversity and ecosystem services. The direct and indirect effects of increased temperature and changing rainfall patterns are expected to significantly increase extinction rates for wide range of taxa. Montane species and communities, in particular, are highly sensitive to climate change and mountains serve as suitable observation sites for tracing climate-induced biological responses. This session will cover overlooked and poorly understood species and ecosystems of the Carpathians, which are most likely to be vulnerable to climate change and moreover demonstrate potential adaptation strategies.

Conservation, sustainable management, and co-existence with large carnivores

Session leaders: Secretariat of the Carpathian Convention; WWF DCP; Humane Society International/Europe and CIC


The Carpathian region harbors one of the most important large carnivore populations (the Eurasian lynx, the Brown bear, and the Grey wolf) in Europe. In addition to suitable habitats, the above-mentioned mammalian species require extensive, non-fragmented habitats to establish their large home ranges and to allow long-distance movements. Despite their long term protection in some countries within the region and their functional role as ecosystem keystone species, these top predators are still considered to be conflict species within the Region. Thus, the Framework Convention on the Protection and Sustainable Development of the Carpathians (The Carpathian Convention), namely its Protocol on Conservation and Sustainable Use of Biological and Landscape Diversity, together with the Carpathian Convention Working Group on Conservation and Sustainable Use of Biological and Landscape Diversity (WG Biodiversity) pays special attention to effective large carnivores` conservation. In this regards, the Conference on Large Carnivores’ Protection was organized on 18-21 October 2016 in Rožnov pod Radhoštěm, Czech Republic, where the Declaration on the Management and Protection of Large Carnivores in the Carpathians was developed and then welcomed at the 5th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Carpathian Convention (DECISION COP5/4 para 3). The Declaration, among others, calls on the WG Biodiversity to elaborate an International Action Plan for the Conservation and Sustainable Management for the Carpathian Populations of Large Carnivores, with support of the Carpathian Convention Secretariat.
The session on Large Carnivores will offer a suitable platform to share scientific knowledge and exchange practical experiences on monitoring and protection of large carnivores within the Carpathian region. Moreover, it will provide another step toward harmonization of methodologies for the population based monitoring of large carnivores and the development of the International Action Plan mentioned above.

Carpathian waters: functioning, management, silvicultural and social impacts

Session leaders: Bartłomiej Wyżga; Joanna Zawiejska; Stanisław Małek; Yurij Bihun


The session focuses on physical, chemical and biological processes operating in surface and ground water bodies, their interactions with human activities (e.g. channelization, river restoration, water pollution) and their response to environmental changes and human activities in the catchments/recharge areas (e.g. climate and land-use changes, silviculture). Presentations concerning methodological aspects and results of the assessment of water quality, hydromorphological conditions and ecological state of water bodies are welcome. As forests constitute a large proportion of the Carpathian area, contributions dealing with interactions of water bodies with forests (e.g. impact of forest management on recharge and quality of ground waters, interactions of fluvial processes with in-stream wood) will be appreciated. Improved water management in mountain areas largely depends on public acceptance and participation, thus we also invite contributions concerning social and legal aspects of management. The objective of the session is to provide the scientific background for water management policy that will increase the availability and quality of water resources and minimize threats for humans such as floods or droughts with the simultaneous improvement of integrity of aquatic and water-related ecosystems.

Slope processes and natural hazards

Session leaders: Joanna Zawiejska


Coming soon…

Forest dynamics and natural disturbance-based forestry

Session leaders: William Keeton


Organized session with invited speakers

Effects of forest management on biodiversity

Session leaders: Péter Ódor


Forest management considerably changed the structure, composition and site condition of the forested landscape having influential effects of the biodiversity of forest dwelling organisms, which adatted to natural disturbance regime. The management has local (stand scale) effects via changes of forest site, microhabitats, regional (landscape scale) effects influencing colonization possibilities and continental scale effect. The different organism groups has different sensitivity for human landuse types depending on their ecological demands and abilities. In this session all study is welcomed that focuses on the effect of management on biodiversity including stand scale comparison of forestry treatments, comparisons of unmanaged and differently managed stands, landscape scale effects of management on biodiversity, importance of management related microhabitats (eg. dead wood) or forest site conditions on biodiversity, temporal effect of management on biodiversity. All aspect of biodiversity is welcomed including population or population genetical studies, community structure of different organism groups (from birds to bacteria), multi-taxon studies, functional and trait-based approaches of biodiversity.

Agroforestry systems

Session leaders: Anna Varga; Kinga Öllerer


Agroforestry systems represent the historical practice of combining the growing of trees with agriculture, sometimes including also animals. Following the recognition that if developed together, forestry and agronomic systems can enhance economic, environmental and social goods, the international scientific and policy community embraced this land use management. Despite the potentials, the implementation of such systems has been very scarce so far throughout most of Europe.

This session invites contributions both in the form of theoretical research and practical experience in the entire range of agroforestry types, including silvopastures, silvoarable areas, forest farming, multipurpose trees, traditional small-scale orchards and vineyards.

Traditional ecological knowledge and traditional land management

Session leaders: Dániel Babai,; Demeter László; Zsolt Molnár


The aim of the session is to discuss the present and future relevance of traditional (extensive) land management and connected traditional/local ecological knowledge (TEK/LEK) in the Carpathians. Our purpose is to create a platform in order to understand the wider ecological, economic, political and social context of extensive land use in the 21st century. Therefore, we consider being important not only to discuss current processes and situations, but the future opportunities of implemented TEK/LEK planned to be reviewed as well. Considering this, we are interested in finding solutions and way out of the economic and social trap situation through knowledge co-production, multiple evidence based knowledge, maintaining traditional land management, in order to avoid ecological crisis and preserve/maintain biodiversity and natural resources for the future.

We are expecting a fruitful discussion about the future prospects of the small-scale, low-input, extensive farming which is suitable to maintain HNV (high nature value) cultural landscapes.

Spatial inequalities – ranging from economic to territorial justice

Session leaders: Christian Hoffmann; Valentina Cattivelli 


Inequalities surrounding issues of income, economic growth, access to services, intergenerational opportunities or urban-rural divisions have been increasing in the last years. “Places” are dominated by “fluxes”. Digitalization substitutes physical discontinuity, leading to an alteration of wealth and economic activities independent of any territorial borders.
To overcome the disadvantages (e.g. institutional budget constraints, demographic change, fragmented markets, digital divide etc.) and geographic specificities (e.g. remoteness, isolation, etc.), impacting territorial justice in peripheral or mountain regions like in the Carpathians, we need innovative and applicable solutions, which provide answers on:
“How do we perceive inequalities”? What are the most crucial inequalities in mountain and rural areas? How can it become possible to keep together objectives of social equity, spatial justice, quality and sustainable environment, and efficient and profitable relationships between rural and urban socio-economic activities?”
Services integration, organizational changes, and the improvement of cooperation among providers, could be an example of how innovation can stimulate the transition of remote regions. The delivery of broadband and high-speed internet is one of the major necessities, as it facilitates independent of spatial limitations, innovative transformation processes towards e-commerce; smart working; e-health, e-education etc. This affects particularly the determination of socio-spatial inequalities of peripheral territories, like mountains, rural and remote areas.
In the session, we focus on the increasing socio-spatial and economic inequalities in mountain and rural areas. We welcome contributions focusing on integrated territorial strategies to cope with the distribution of public services, new governance approaches, social and technical innovations to release the territorial capitals.
Number of expected papers: max 5

Governance for sustainable development in the Carpathians

Session leaders: Márta Vetier


The Carpathian Mountains are a transboundary mountain range with a highly complex social-ecological system. What happens on the ground with the Carpathian Mountains’ valuable ecosystem and the communities living in the mountains is influenced by multiple governance arrangements. This session invites contributions on governance in and of the Carpathian Mountains. Presentations can focus on a single governance initiative affecting the Carpathian social-ecological system; ranging from the local to the transboundary level; from informal to formal; governmental or non-governmental initiatives, and originating in many different sectors. Presentations can also explore the existing, missing or potential interactions between multiple governance arrangements.

Rural development, social innovation and adaptive responses of disadvantaged communities in mountain areas to local, regional and global challenges

Session leaders: Maria Nijnik; Mariana Melnykovych; Tatiana Kluvankova; Serhiy Kopiy


The term “social innovation” is applied to depict a broad range of activities connected to explicit goals and supposedly designed to address inherent problems of society. The H2020 project on Social Innovation in Marginalised rural areas defines it as “the reconfiguring of social practices, in response to societal challenges, which seeks to enhance outcomes on societal well-being and necessarily includes the engagement of civil society actors”. Social innovation is often seen as a force for sustainable development. This raises a number of conceptual and empirical issues:

  • What are challenges in marginalised mountain areas? What are possible solutions of problems? What are primary adaptive responses of disdvantaged communities?
  • How is”social innovation” defined in the Carpathian region? What are its examples? To what extent does successful social innovation in one disadvantaged locality/community depend on bidding for and drawing down public funds which are thereby denied to other communities, whose disadvantage and marginalisation thus deepens? Has social innovation been shown to reduce marginalisation in the Carpathians?
  • What are inter- and transdisciplinary approaches that foster social innovation? What is the role of transdisciplinary sustainability research for social innovation?
  • What are your observations as to the emergence, determinants and scaling possibilities of social innovation in its variety of forms? What is the role of the state, private sectors, and various types of partnerships and collaborations in scaling up the process to promote sustainability in the development of mountain areas and communities?
  • What is the role of the state (local, national, transnational) in enabling various forms of social innovation and supporting different forms of scaling in marginal rural areas and disadvantaged communities?
  • What are the principal causes of unevenness in social innovation in rural areas? Does social capital and cultural differences play their roles, or are the actions of the state crucial in delivering more positive outcomes? What is the evidence and specificity of social innovation in the Carpathian region (in comparison with other marginalised areas)?
  • To what extent and under what circumstances does social innovation in marginalised areas and communities deliver transformative adaptive opportunity to people on the ground? What is the contribution of social innovation to sustainability?

This list of questions is not prescriptive. We encourage those working with social innovation targeting marginalised mountain areas and disadvantaged groups and places, both in the Carpathian region and beyond, to share their ideas and participate in our session. ”

Sustainable cities and communities or Carpathian population: well-being and resilience issues

Session leaders: Elena Matei; Ioan Ianos


Coming soon

Tourism as a vector of sustainable and smart development of the Carpathians

Session leaders: Elena Matei; Miroslaw Mika


The keywords of the European policies, sustainable and smart development of the Carpathian Region is a goal pursued at socio-economic level through multiple leverages: research, technology, innovation, planning, implementation, conservation, etc. With new trends in tourism development, tourism industry becomes a vector to support intelligent specializations of destinations as well as their sustainable/stable and multi-functional development. Sustainable and smart business practises face the challenge to meet the tourism consumer demands from conventional to the millenials’ asks focuused on smart experience in a changing and competitive world. Besides these, the excellent palette of the natural and cultural potential of the Carpathians is a constant for the development of tourism, which add value and brings benefits to the actors: communities, tourists, business stakeholders, and the environmentally sustainable states.

Education for the sustainable Carpathians

Session leaders: Attila Varga; Joanna Zawiejska


It is increasingly evident that challenges of sustainable development could not be met without changes in the thinking of all stakeholders within the society, promoting mutual understanding, setting common goals and enhancing public participation. This also means education and effective translation of scientific findings into social knowledge are crucial also for the future of the Carpathians. The session invites scientists and educators to present their research studies on the role and impacts of education on proenvironmental behaviour, social inclusion, greening the economy an other aspects of sustainable social development.

Cross sectoral issues – the Carpathians valued as a living place

Session leaders: Cattivelli Valentina; Christian Hoffmann


The Carpathians, as other mountain territories, are suffering from social and economic ”isolation”. They are usually facing the absence or lacking accessibility of service of general interest, low-skilled job and education opportunities, low-productivity, lacking integration in regional and national governance processes. They are politically “ignored” due to lacking political representativeness/participation and limited consideration of their needs. Thus, people emigrate from rural areas. The remaining ones are old aged and the typical economic branches have to cope with de-growth. Also the widely spread agricultural production declines and the Carpathian cultural landscape scenery suffers from land abandonment. Since the end of the socialism era, the Carpathians enforced their multifunctional potentials to valorize their territorial capital to recover its local economy. Particularly, they have revitalized the tourism sector, which benefits from natural sites, ecosystem services and from the favorable local climate conditions in the Carpathians. Moreover, the European cohesion initiatives enabled the promotion of the local industries and the handicraft sector to foster the talents and innovative entrepreneurial skills to enforce local value added chains and to raise the competitiveness for sustaining jobs and employment-opportunities in the Carpathians. Innovative policies for the Carpathian mountain areas should thus foster sustainable and integrated solutions to avoid a mono-sectorial development. Instead, cross-sectoral policies and multi-sectorial cooperation could help to create a stable living place for enabling sustainable and local growth, without giving up their traditional cultural and family ties. The issue how to reconcile the ideas of sustainability and competitiveness in the era of climate change, social inequality and spatial injustice requires a cross-sectorial and trans-disciplinary debate. To cope with these complex thematic fields, any contributions covering the following issues are hence highly welcome:

  • Cross-sectorial and transdisciplinary studies enabling the valorization of resources in order to raise the quality of life in the Carpathians – like studies or initiatives on energy exploitation, agricultural and natural resources or tourism and their impact on the socio-economic performance.
  • Integrated, cross-sectorial approaches to counteract the rural urban divide with smart territorial relationships: to release endogenous potentials, to open appropriate options against social inequalities and spatial injustice, and to enable the Carpathians as a valuable living place.
  • Innovative and integrative governance and mediation processes across sectors to avoid territorial conflicts regarding the empowering of local resources harming sustainability rules or cultural conflicts between traditional values and the multi-cultural expectations to sustain a modern and resilient society.