Research Centre of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts
Recent publications
Commons were traditionally associated with rural societies, but socioeconomic changes have triggered new forms of commons linked with urban areas. Despite an emerging literature on these new commons and their connection to landscape management, more knowledge is needed. This study focuses on various forms of commons and their contribution to landscape management in Japan and Slovenia. The aim is to gain insights into the specificities of such commons, explore their evolutionary aspect, and to investigate their governance challenges. Empirical analysis was based on literature, web search and in-depth interviews. The study reveals 1) a great diversity of commons related to landscapes, 2) the evolution of some traditional commons into so-called 'transforming commons', whose main characteristics are the greater involvement of non-owners and the linking of rural-urban areas, 3) new types of commons developed with different resources, mainly in urban areas, and 4) in addition to material benefits these commons also provide non-material aspects and social benefits. The analysis also shows that all commons face governance and social challenges due to ageing of participants, challenging legal procedures, and difficulties in participating in collective actions.
Throughout the evolutionary tree, there are gains and losses of morphological features, physiological processes, and behavioral patterns. Losses are perhaps nowhere so prominent as for subterranean organisms, which typically show reductions or losses of eyes and pigment. These losses seem easy to explain without recourse to natural selection. Its most modern form is the accumulation of selectively neutral, structurally reducing mutations. Selectionist explanations include direct selection, often involving metabolic efficiency in resource poor subterranean environments, and pleiotropy, where genes affecting eyes and pigment have other effects, such as increasing extra-optic sensory structures. This dichotomy echoes the debate in evolutionary biology in general about the sufficiency of natural selection as an explanation of evolution, e.g., Kimura’s neutral mutation theory. Tests of the two hypotheses have largely been one-sided, with data supporting that one or the other processes is occurring. While these tests have utilized a variety of subterranean organisms, the Mexican cavefish, Astyanax mexicanus, which has eyed extant ancestral-like surface fish conspecifics, is easily bred in the lab, and whose whole genome has been sequenced, is the favored experimental organism. However, with few exceptions, tests for selection versus neutral mutations contain limitations or flaws. Notably, these tests are often one sided, testing for the presence of one or the other process. In fact, it is most likely that both processes occur and make a significant contribution to the two most studied traits in cave evolution: eye and pigment reduction. Furthermore, narrow focus on neutral mutation hypothesis versus selection to explain cave-evolved traits often fails, at least in the simplest forms of these hypotheses, to account for aspects that are likely essential for understanding cave evolution: migration or epigenetic effects. Further, epigenetic effects and phenotypic plasticity have been demonstrated to play an important role in cave evolution in recent studies. Phenotypic plasticity does not by itself result in genetic change of course, but plasticity can reveal cryptic genetic variation which then selection can act on. These processes may result in a radical change in our thinking about evolution of subterranean life, especially the speed with which it may occur. Thus, perhaps it is better to ask what role the interaction of genes and environment plays, in addition to natural selection and neutral mutation.
Aims Ellenberg-type indicator values are expert-based rankings of plant species according to their ecological optima on main environmental gradients. Here we extend the indicator-value system proposed by Heinz Ellenberg and co-authors for Central Europe by incorporating other systems of Ellenberg-type indicator values (i.e., those using scales compatible with Ellenberg values) developed for other European regions. Our aim is to create a harmonized dataset of Ellenberg-type indicator values applicable at the European scale. Methods We collected European datasets of indicator values for vascular plants and selected 13 datasets that used the nine-, ten- or twelve-degree scales defined by Ellenberg for light, temperature, moisture, reaction, nutrients and salinity. We compared these values with the original Ellenberg values and used those that showed consistent trends in regression slope and coefficient of determination. We calculated the average value for each combination of species and indicator values from these datasets. Based on species co-occurrences in European vegetation plots, we also calculated new values for species that were not assigned an indicator value. Results We provide a new dataset of Ellenberg-type indicator values for 8,908 European vascular plant species (8,168 for light, 7,400 for temperature, 8,030 for moisture, 7,282 for reaction, 7,193 for nutrients, and 7,507 for salinity), of which 398 species have been newly assigned to at least one indicator value. Conclusions The newly introduced indicator values are compatible with the original Ellenberg values. They can be used for large-scale studies of the European flora and vegetation or for gap-filling in regional datasets. The European indicator values and the original and taxonomically harmonized regional datasets of Ellenberg-type indicator values are available in Supplementary Information and the Zenodo repository.
It is assumed that people practiced woodland management, i.e., coppicing and pollarding, in prehistory, but details are poorly known. This study aims for a better understanding of woodland exploitation through time in the wetland basin of the Ljubljansko barje, Slovenia, from 3700-2400 BCE (Before Common Era). To do so, uncarbonized, waterlogged wood from 16 Eneolithic pile dwellings situated in two geographical clusters that cover a time span of c. 1300 years were subjected to age/diameter analysis. It is the first time that age/diameter analysis has been applied to multiple sites from the same region. The investigated posts represent a wide range of taxa, but oak (Quercus sp.) and ash (Fraxinus sp.) represent 75% of the total, indicating selective use of wood for this purpose. Diameter selection of ash may have taken place as well. At both site clusters, the age/diameter data do not reveal any unequivocal evidence for woodland management. Only at the youngest sites do the data possibly show some gradually changing practices. The outcomes are discussed within the framework of recent discussions about woodland management in Europe.
Archaeoastronomical studies have demonstrated that the important civic and ceremonial buildings in Mesoamerica were largely oriented to sunrises or sunsets on specific dates, but the origin and spread of orientation practices were not clear. Using aerial laser scanning (lidar) data, we analyzed orientations of a large number of ceremonial complexes in the area along the southern Gulf Coast, including many recently identified Formative sites dating to 1100 BCE to 250 CE. The distribution pattern of dates marked by solar alignments indicates their subsistence-related ritual significance. The orientations of complexes built between 1100 and 750 BCE, in particular, represent the earliest evidence of the use of the 260-day calendar, centuries earlier than its previously known use in textual records.
Motivation: Indicator values are numerical values used to characterize the ecological niches of species and to estimate their occurrence along gradients. Indicator values on climatic and edaphic niches of plant species have received considerable attention in ecological research, whereas data on the optimal positioning of species along disturbance gradients are less developed. Here, we present a new data set of disturbance indicator values identifying optima along gradients of natural and anthropogenic disturbance for 6382 vascular plant species based on the analysis of 736,366 European vegetation plots and using expert-based characterization of disturbance regimes in 236 habitat types. The indicator values presented here are crucial for integrating disturbance niche optima into large-scale vegetation analyses and macroecological studies. Main types of variables contained: We set up five main continuous indicator values for European vascular plants: disturbance severity, disturbance frequency, mowing frequency, grazing pressure and soil disturbance. The first two indicators are provided separately for the whole community and for the herb layer. We calculated the values as the average of expert-based estimates of disturbance values in all habitat types where a species occurs, weighted by the number of plots in which the species occurs within a given habitat type. Spatial location and grain: Europe. Vegetation plots ranging in size from 1 to 1000 m2. Time period and grain: Vegetation plots mostly sampled between 1956 and 2013 (= 5th and 95th quantiles of the sampling year, respectively). Major taxa and level of measurement: Species-level indicator values for vascular plants. Software format: csv file.
This article presents a theoretical and conceptual introduction to the special issue dedicated to branding, labelling and certification. The authors present the connections of these qualification instruments with regional development, multiscalarity, and actor networks from a geographical and anthropological perspective. The special issue contributes to a better understanding of the interferences and interconnections of various accompanying processes associated with branding, labelling, and certification, such as actors' practises and relationships, social power relations, alternative marketing strategies, long-term impacts on ethical values, and emotional concern.
Throughout historical periods, people have developed various practices for the comprehensive use of natural resources that can be utilized to meet the requirements of contemporary sustainable living. This traditional knowledge and the ways of life of ancestors are recognized as cultural heritage, which has become a driving force towards achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in accordance with the cultural and heritage strategies and conventions of the UNESCO. However, to integrate them meaningfully into future landscape development, many challenges must be addressed by different actors (experts, researchers, decision makers, civil society, etc.). The aim of this article is to critically reflect on the concept of using cultural heritage practices for community development through the presentation and analysis of case studies on the participatory management of the UNESCO Karst Biosphere Reserve (and Reka River Basin) of the Škocjan Caves Park Public Service Agency in Slovenia (Europe). The article first addresses theoretical issues related to understanding cultural heritage as an important element of the enhancement of the sustainable development. It then presents active work in the Škocjan Caves Park Public Service Agency with stakeholders and two case studies that show how local karst heritage can be used to address biodiversity loss, drinking water scarcity, and global warming. In the conclusion some steps towards designing activities aimed to address sustainable development goals based on cultural heritage and participatory approaches are proposed.
Acidophytic alpine mat-grass swards are rare in the alpine belt of the predominantly calcareous Southeastern Alps of Slovenia, mostly occurring where limestone is admixed with marlstone or chert. Those for which we were able to make phytosociological relevés can be classified mainly into two syntaxa: Carici curvulae-Nardetum strictae vaccinietosum gaultherioidis and Sieversio-Nardetum strictae vaccinietosum . At slightly lower elevations, in the forest zone of the subalpine plateau Pokljuka, we found similar swards occupying small areas in frost hollows with luvisol on limestone. They include character species of various subalpine-alpine sward and snow bed communities and are classified into the syntaxon Homogyno alpinae-Nardetum scorzoneroidetosum croceae .
This perspective identifies the grand challenges in arachnid science: 1. Grasp the arachnid species diversity. There is a need to accelerate taxonomic research to obtain a sense of arachnid species diversity, however, at the same time, taxonomy needs to increase its quality, rigor, and repeatability. 2. Standardize arachnid systematics research. A solid phylogenetic definition and morphological diagnosis of Arachnida and its composing subgroups, usually treated at the rank of order, are needed. Studies should aim to stabilize and standardize phylogenetic efforts at all levels of hierarchy, and systematists should adopt criteria for higher level ranks in arachnid classification. 3. Interpret arachnid trait evolution through omics approaches. Among the field’s grand challenges is to define the genetic diversity encoding for the diverse arachnid traits, including developmental, morphological and ecological characteristics, biomaterials such as silks, venoms, digestive fluids, or allergens and bioproducts that cause diseases. Comparative genomics, transcriptomics, and proteomics will provide the empirical basis for biotechnology to modify arachnid genomes to fit numerous applications. 4. Facilitate biotechnological applications of arachnid molecules and biomaterials. Among the grand field challenges is to define potential applications of arachnid bioproducts from therapeutics to industry. New natural and biodegradable products, e.g. from spider silks, should ease our burden on ecosystems. 5. Utilize arachnids as models in ecological and biogeographic research. Biodiversity inventory sampling and analytical techniques should be extended from spiders to other arachnid groups. Spiders and their webs could be used as environmental DNA samplers, measuring or monitoring ecosystems’ overall biodiversity. Arachnids are excellent models to address biogeographical questions at the global to local scales. 6. Disentangle evolutionary drivers of arachnid diversity. Among the field grand challenges is a more precise evaluation to what extent the emergence of arachnid phenotypes is shaped by classical selection processes, and under what conditions, if any, sexual conflict needs to be invoked. 7. Define effective conservation measures for arachnids in the light of global changes. Effective conservation measures in arachnology should integrate the data from phylogenetic diversity, physiology, ecology, biogeography, and global change biology.
Place branding is an approach to stimulating territorial development. From the theoretical point of view, place branding in rural areas should be an inclusive and participatory process. Applications and outcomes of the process have been insufficiently investigated so far in rural areas. The oldest place brand in Slovenia, “Babica in Dedek”, is analyzed to present its socioeconomic circumstances, impacts, and challenges from the perspective of local producers. Three qualitative methods are thus applied: analysis of documents, semi-structured interviews, and a focus group. This case study has revealed factors that contribute to new marketing opportunities, product packaging, holding seminars, and advertising local products in the area. On the other hand, the empirical findings are only partly aligned with the theoretical implications: the impacts of place branding are “sectorally limited” instead of being inclusive and participative.
The aim of this paper is to present a systematic review of tourism certification, labelling and branding research. To review the scientific literature, we followed the PRISMA methodological approach. We started by outlining the spatial and temporal distribution of research linked to certification, labelling and branding, carried out in the social sciences and humanities. In the second step, we extracted the theoretical definitions and characteristics of these three processes in tourism from a selected body of literature. We continued by analysing hierarchical and non-hierarchical relations between certification and branding, and by drawing conclusions linked to duality, or even contradictions that are emerging in this field of tourism research.
A discourse is considered coherent only if all its parts are semantically related to each other and if it makes sense. However, coherence cannot be attributed to a discourse in advance because it depends on how the participants understand what they hear/ read. So we can say that it is not the discourse that establishes coherence, but the participants according to their understanding of a discourse. In practise, this means that for the same discourse there are at least two coherences that may or may not match up. Usually they match up to some extent because participants follow the cooperative principle of mutual willingness to establish coherence in discourse. There are several strategies for establishing and maintaining discourse coherence; among them, repetition and inference form an extensive group. In this paper, however, I will focus only on the strategies that are typical of spontaneous spoken discourse. These are the following: questions, completion, contradiction and polyphonic talk. In the second part of the article I will present each of them in the examples of spontaneous dialectal discourse. The texts were recorded in Brda, a region in the far west of Slovenia. The dialect spoken there is called the Brda dialect. It belongs to the Littoral dialect group of the Slovene language.
Où en sommes-nous ? Archéozoologie médiévale précoce en Slovénie: un aperçu. Dans le sud-est de la région alpine, la recherche archéozoologique des contextes du Moyen Âge précoce a longtemps été négligée. Ces dernières années cependant, quelques sites ont été systématiquement étudiés, ce qui a permis de mieux comprendre certains des aspects les plus caractéristiques du rôle des différents animaux dans l'économie des communautés humaines de l'époque. L'élevage fournissait alors la majeure partie de la viande consommée, les caprins, les porcs et les volailles étant souvent beaucoup plus nombreux que les bovins. Compte tenu également de la diminution de la taille des animaux et de l'âge moyen relativement élevé à leur mort, on pense que les établissements étaient des unités économiquement autonomes, vivant d'une économie de subsistance. Le modèle assez homogène de la distribution spatiale intra-site des découvertes d'animaux indique une stratification sociale et une différenciation fonctionnelle limitées de la population. L'interaction des premiers arrivants slaves du vie siècle après J.-C. avec les habitants indigènes, dans au moins certaines parties de la zone étudiée, a apparemment entraîné une modification partielle de la stratégie d'élevage des premiers, que l'on pense avoir été traditionnellement basée sur l'élevage de porcs. Les informations sur le rôle des animaux dans la mythologie locale sont pauvres. La découverte la plus marquante est un squelette de canidé provenant de l'un des sites funéraires, où il a pu représenter l'un des points de connotation spatiale de la région.
The paper introduces the transboundary approach for landscape geointerpretation using a karst landscape (NW Dinaric Karst) as an example. It proposes geointerpretation that focuses on attractive geoheritage themes that are unique to a karst landscape, such as "duality" of the landscape (surface and underground landscape), geodiversity and geohistory of explorations. Four representative karst landscape types are presented in two neighbouring countries, Slovenia (SI) and Croatia (HR): low karst (Karst Plateau/SI), contact karst (UNESCO site Škocjan Caves/ SI), high alpine glacial karst (Gorski Kotar/HR) and coastal karst (Island of Krk/HR). The transboundary geointerpretation approach is based on an interpretive planning process, which was conducted through participatory workshops with local people and stakeholders and resulted in one interpretive master plan and four permanent exhibition plans. The key phenomena and themes for permanent exhibition plans were identified and used as the basis for the establishment of off-site karst interpretive centres and on-site polygons. The karst heritage was interpreted by using Freeman Tilden's basic principles of interpretation. The presented approach and the interpretive infrastructure provide a good basis for further geoconservation projects, as well as for geopark designation. Its transferability and further geotourism applications are discussed.
The soil organic carbon (SOC) was determined in soils of enclosed karst depressions (dolines) (NW Dinaric Mts.) to define their potential for organic carbon sequestration. SOC was measured in the forest, succession (scrubland), and grassland plots at the bottom of dolines at four depths (0–40 cm) and for 40 cm soil layer SOC stock was calculated. We demonstrated that the prevailing fine soil fractions, the C/N ratio and soil thickness play a positive role in the storage capacity of SOC in dolines regardless land use type. Grasslands have the lowest SOC storage capacity (106 t/ha/40 cm), while the highest SOC storage capacity is in succession plots (130 t/ha/40 cm). The last are covered by shrub communities dominated by Prunus spinosa, forming dense communities, and are typical of abandoned croplands or meadows that have been impacted by high levels of nutrients during cultivation phase. At this stage, there is no additional nutrient input in studied plots, which lowers the nutrient content and increases the C/N ratio. C/N ratio is the highest in the forest, where SOC stock capacity is 116 t/ha/40 cm. Given the trend towards the abandonment of agricultural land at Kras Plateau (SW Slovenia), we can expect more overgrowth of dolines, and thus an increase in carbon stocks and stabilization of organic carbon in forest soils. In contrary, we noticed the alarming decrease in grasslands and increase in urban land. The SOC storage in 2020 was for 12,538 t/ha/40 cm lower than in 2002. Although grasslands showed the lowest SOC storage, their contribution to total SOC storage in dolines is very important. Since there is a lack of studies on carbon stocks in doline soils, our research is of great importance and a novelty and gives an important background for further research on SOC stock in karst landscapes worldwide.
The topic of gendered language policy has engaged the public for decades, while at the same time becoming increasingly theoretically marginal in the gender and language field. The recent public debates in many parts of Europe, however, highlight the new frames of the topic in the era of rising authoritarian and right‐wing discourses, which make notions of ‘gender ideology’ a central symbolic point in neo‐nationalist rhetoric. As a hub of this ‘gender trouble’, Eastern European societies have lately attracted particular public attention, but they remain among the least explored in the field. This paper stresses that the complexity of discourses in the post‐socialist, post‐‘transition’ societies, along with their specific structural‐linguistic features, promises rich grounds to assess the newly shifting discourses around gender and language policy in Europe. The study contributes to this research direction by employing a corpus‐based, discourse‐analytic approach to analyse the media representations, and particularly the citizen responses, in Serbia, which has recently witnessed intense debates on gender, language and politics. The analysis reveals clear trajectories with the discourses described in earlier research, but also some shifting foci pertaining to questions of ‘true science’, distrust of authority and wider social crisis, pointing to emerging global challenges in gender and language research. Pitanje politika rodno osetljivog jezika decenijama je predmet debata u javnosti, mada je u oblasti izučavanja jezika i roda teorijski sve više marginalizovano. Prisustvo ove teme u javnom diskursu u skorije vreme, međutim, međutim, skreće pažnju na njene nove obrise u kontekstu osnaživanja autoritarnih i desničarskih diskursa, pri čemu pojam 'ideologije roda' postaje centralna simbolička tačka neonacionalističke retorike. Kao središte ovih 'nevolja s rodom', društva Istočne Evrope od skora su u središtu pažnje u međunarodnom medijskom i javnom kontekstu, ali su i dalje među najmanje izučavanim u ovoj oblasti. U ovom radu ističe se da složenost diskursa u post‐socijalističkim, post‐'tranzicionim' društvima, zajedno sa njihovim specifičnim strukturno‐jezičkim odlikama, nudi vrlo bogato tle za razumevanje novonastalih diskursa vezanih za rodno‐osetljive jezičke politike u Evropi. Rad kombinuje korpusno‐lingvistički i diskursni pristup kako bi analizirao medijske predstave, a pre svega odgovore građanki i građana na njih, u kontekstu Srbije u kojoj traju intenzivne debate o rodu, jeziku i politici. Analiza otkriva jasne veze sa diskursima opisanim u ranijim istraživanjima iz drugih delova sveta, ali i neke specifične lokalne obrasce, kao i fokus vezan za pitanja 'prave nauke', pitanja autoriteta, i šire društvene krize, što sveukupno upućuje na nove izazove za istaživanja jezika i roda.
Terminological counselling is ad hoc terminology work that provides the terminology user with a relatively quick and credible answer to a terminological question. In this article, we present the Terminological Counselling Service offered by the Terminology Section of the ZRC SAZU Fran Ramovš Institute of the Slovenian Language since 2013. Through a web form, users submit a question, which is answered by five terminologists in a joint opinion. For this article, all 75 questions received by the Terminological Counselling Service in 2020 were examined. They were analysed in terms of the subject fields in which the users have terminological problems, the institutions the users are affiliated with, and the content of the questions. We believe that the Terminological Counselling Service plays an important role, as the number of users is increasing year by year.
Rapidly increasing resources of citizen science databases (CS) collecting information on species occurrence are increasingly useful as a data source for global biodiversity research. The photos attached to records allow to verify the species identification and identify its phenological phase. We assessed CS data's usefulness in large-scale phenological research on temperate forest understory species, using a common and widely distributed in Europe: Anemone nemorosa. We analyzed 9804 photos from CS databases. We found 177 15' grid cells with ≥10 observations of flowering plants for bootstrap estimation of flowering onset and offset. We predicted flowering dates for the present and future climate according to Shared Socioeconomic Pathways averaged over four global circulation models for 2040-60 and 2060-80 across A. nemorosa natural range. The estimated magnitude of change in the flowering phenology for both future periods is comparable. The estimated flowering onset median was 24-41 days earlier while flowering offset median was 19-34 days earlier than predicted for the current climate. We estimated a flowering length median of up to 7 days longer than for current climatic conditions. The predicted changes in the phenology of flowering will not significantly change the duration of flowering but will accelerate onset of this phenophase by about one month. Our study showed that CS might provide a valuable dataset that allows for developing reliable models of plant phenology. It was possible due to a large sample size, resulting from species characteristics: flowering when wider audience is interested in searching spring indicators, easy identification and abundant occurrence. We demonstrated that using dataset of such spatiotemporal extent can cautiously be used for development of future predictions. Such approach allows for evaluating flowering phenology in the understory and to improve understanding the consequences of climate change for biodiversity and functioning of temperate ecosystems.
The peer-reviewed book series Società e trasformazioni sociali reflect Ca’ Foscari scientific high standards and publishe online accessible books on pivotal social, political and economic issues of our time in a sociological perspective. Work, social inequalities, state, welfare, migration and racism, with their ongoing transformations and various features, are among the topics covered, which all have a global dimension.
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245 members
Saša Čaval
  • Institute of Anthropological and Spatial Studies
Branko Vreš
  • Jovan Hadži Institute of Biology
Simona Kralj-Fišer
  • Jovan Hadži Institute of Biology
Adrijan Košir
  • Ivan Rakovec Institute of Paleontology
Franci Gabrovsek
  • Karst Research Institute
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Oto Luthar
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