Journal of the Bulgarian Geographical Society 45: 31-39, doi: 10.3897/jbgs.e78692
Experimental mapping and assessment of ecosystem services based on multi-level landscape classification
expand article infoHristina Prodanova
‡ National Institute of Geophysics, Geodesy and Geography - Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, Sofia, Bulgaria
Open Access

The importance of the landscapes for the development of recreation and ecotourism is significant but very little studied. Usually, scientists use spatial units to map and assess the ecosystem services CORINE land cover or similar classifications. Traditional multi-level landscape classifications, very well-known and developed in the XXth century in Bulgaria, Russia, and other Eastern and Central European countries, could give valuable information for various indicators for ecosystem services assessment. From another hand, these classical landscape ecological maps are very little- known for the international scientific audience. We decided to conduct an experimental mapping and assessment of ecosystem services based on multi-level landscape classification. For this, we have chosen a case study area with hilly karst relief, which is part of the inner Predbalkan Region, located in North-Central Bulgaria. The site represents a scientific interest in terms of its transitional position between the Stara Planina Mountain and the Danube Plain and the presence of various anthropogenic changes. The study aimed to develop and test an original methodology for mapping and assessment of the capacity of the contemporary landscapes in the Strazhata syncline upland and Melovete hills to provide cultural ecosystem services – recreation and ecotourism. The results showed that 70% of the territory has medium or higher capacity, dominated mainly by karst areas with natural vegetation in protected sites.

capacity scores, cultural ecosystem services, expert-based assessment, matrix, natural heritage, protected sites