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"Only when the society will have the responsibility not only to access, which has a direct benefit, but also the whole creation from the beginning is what this world can be called mature. Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948)"

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Protected area Velky Radzim - sixty years old story

Striking and prominent landmarks of the Dobsinske foothill - massifs of the Velky and Maly Radzim are surrounded by an agricultural country. This magical mountain has been always luring to be climbed and to date it is evoking reverence of the local people. Velky Radzim therefore remained relatively little disturbed by human activities and it represents a small island of a high biodiversity.

Rock cliffs, rock walls or rock terraces offer number of spectacular views with presence of a few remarkable caves, but on the other hand they make summit difficult to access.  Here are preserved natural forests that in some places carry features of the old growth forest. They are home to lynx, golden eagle, peregrine falcon and wolves. From the botanical point of view site is an exceptional for the presence of a rare Leopard plant - Ligularia glauca. This Siberian species occurs in only a very few sites in Europe and in Slovakia this is the only locality. It was the occurrence of this precious plant that gave the main reason for development of the first attempt for the protection of the site. This efforts were noted in the 70th of the 20th century and then much later in 2001. However, none of these plans have been successfully accomplished or realized mainly due to a disagreement of the local non state forest owners.

FSC Slovakia had been mapping the site of Velky Radzim in 2009 and 2010 within implementation of the project „ Protection of old growth forests in Slovakia“. Further data were gained during research of the locality in 2011. The old growth forest has been identified on the area of 48 ha, mostly on the steep, rocky and very broken northern slopes of Maly and Velky Radzim.

The area is currently not protected and it is not included within NATURA2000 sites. Forests carrying signs and characteristics of the old growth forests are classified only as protective forests. The whole massif area is owned by communal forests. These facts have prompted FSC Slovakia to develop a new project proposal to ensure protection of the area to be designated as nature reserve.

FSC Slovakia started negotiations with the non state forest owners regarding proposed  project of locality. The following discussions have proved that forest owners have a positive attitude to the designation of the nature reserve if certain conditions are met. These included especially agreement on the accurate borders of the protected area and compensations process as the implication for exclusion of the area from any management. Forest owners acknowledged promotion of the area and declared interest in its reasonable utilization (cognitive tourism) resulting in subsequent development of the region. Further efforts of FSC Slovakia shall focus also on inclusion of the protected area within the NATURA2000 network.