Within living memory mankind has testified interest in tress. At the beginning human beings exploited especially immediate useful values of trees. Trees offered them food and medicine, wood for fire or for making instruments and weapons, material for building houses and boats, material for making child`s plays and women`s adornments. At the same time trees offered shadow as protection against burning sun and shelter against enemies and another stress.
Trees, especialy old trees, gradually have become a object of worship. As silent witnesses of past they get merited regard from ancient nations. They were respected and naturally protected. Respect to the trees was transmitted from generation to generation. For example lime-tree (linden) has become a symbol of Slavonians, oak-tree has become a emblem of Germanes and sakura a symbol of Japan. Some nation of the world have a tree in the state symbol or on the state battalion, for example
Trees are often objects of poets, painters, photographers, they are a message of the past that we give next generations. Knowledge and protection of trees is manifestation of culture of every nation. They can rouse our interest by huge growth, old age, curious look of great aesthetic value, unusual shape of trunk, variety of colours of flowers and leaves and of course by quality of genetic material that trees hide in their bodies.
In Slovakia much attention to protection of old trees started to be devoted especially in the second half of the 20th century when the most of important trees were registered. In October 1955 the Act No. 1/1955 on State Nature Protection was passed by the Slovak National Council. According to this act important trees and their groups could be designated as a protected nature creation or as a protected nature monument.
After 40 years, on the January 1st 1995, the Act No. 287/1994 Coll. on Nature nad Landscape Protection came into force. According the § 34 of this act culturally, scientifically, ecologically, landscape-forming, or aesthetically significant trees, groups of trees including their rows could be designated as protected trees. The same strategy and policy of protection of important trees was also accepted by the new act - the Act No. 543/2002 Coll. on Nature nad Landscape Protection which has come into force on the January 1st 2003 (§ 49, Protected trees).
If protection of a protected tree requires it, the nature protection body may designate a protective zone. The third level of protection is valid adequately in the declared protective zone if the nature protection body that designates it does note determine stricter protection conditions (§ 49, section 5 of the Act No. 543/2002 Coll.). If the protective zone has not been designated by this special way, the protective zone is considered to be an area around a protected tree as a projection of its crown extended by one and a half of a meter to a minimum radius of 10 meters from the trunk of the tree and the second level of protection is valid in it (§ 49, section 5 of the Act No. 543/2002 Coll.).
The most protected trees are old trees and their health answers to this fact. Besides it they are affected by stress environmental factors. Their impact is still more intensive. This is why we must devote more of care to them. We must use knowledge of several scientific specializations.
Since July 1st, 2002 is the Slovak Museum of Nature Protection and Speleology in Liptovský Mikuláš responsible for State Invertory by authority of the Ministry of the Environment of the Slovak Republic. Professional organisation for protection of tree species and of protected trees in the State Nature Conservancy of the Slovak Republic in Banská Bystrica.
Data represented in the Catalogue of protected trees are official data of branch of the Ministry of the Environment of the Slovak Republic. It is a part of database of the Information System on the Environment (ISŽP). Its function is guarded by the branch organisations of the Ministry of the Environment of the Slovak Republic. For technical realisation and correctness of data in the Catalogue of protected trees are responsible: The Slovak Museum of Nature Protection and Speleology The State Nature Conservancy of the Slovak Republic - Center of Nature and Landscape Protection in Banská Bystrica The Slovak Environmental Agency.