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Land use

Last update of indicator 15.11.2021

Indicator definition

The indicator describes the proportion of area of various land types to total land area in the current year as well as the index of development of various land type acreage.


%, ha, Index 2005 = 100


Related policy documents and targets

Principles of the State Land Policy (2001)
The Slovak Government declares that the land of the Slovak Republic is the common wealth of the citizens of the state and the heritage of future generations. It is an essential and non-renewable resource, and it forms an integral part of Earth's ecosystems. It remains a basic environmental, ecological, economic and social potential of Slovakia, and must therefore be carefully protected from damage and unjustified reduction of its area and volume.
Action Plan for the Development of SR Agriculture for the years 2014 - 2020 (2014)
The action plan for the development of SR agriculture is based on the Development Concept of SR Agriculture for the years 2013 - 2020. The vision, intentions and goals of this concept fulfil by its content the SR Government´s Statement of Policy for the period 2012-2016, and respect the principles of the Common Agricultural Policy for the years 2014 - 2020.
  • stop the loss of agricultural lands;
  • sustainable forest management
Rural Development Programme of SR 2014 - 2020 (2014)
Objective: Sustainable management of natural resources and adaptation to climate changes
Priority 4: Restoring, preserving and enhancing the ecosystems that are related to agriculture and forestry
13. Ensuring the protection of land from degradation
14: Preservation of agriculture in less favourable areas and efficient use of SR land resources

Greener Slovakia - Environmental policy strategy of the Slovak Republic until 2030 (Envirostrategy 2030) (2019)
Target: 3.2 Protection and Restoration of Landscape Elements on Agricultural Land
  • By 2030, a gradual restoration of landscape elements will take place on agricultural land.
  • Woody plants and grassland will be preserved or returned to agricultural land.
  • New woody windbreaks and accompanying vegetation of domestic species will be planted to reduce water and wind erosion and soil dry-up.
Target: 3.3 Addressing the Status of White Areas
  • By 2030, the conditions for the status completion of the so-called white areas will be created in order to harmonize the type of land held in the land register with the actual state of the land, or the land use to be the same as the land type in the land register. The white areas comprise agricultural land which does not meet its original purpose, a land that has long been absent from agricultural activity and a land that is covered by trees, bushes or their mixtures, meeting the criteria of the forest.

Key question

What is the pressure of condition and use of land on the environment?

Key messages

  • The total area of the SR in 2020 amounted to 4 903 405 ha, out of which the share of agricultural land was 48.4%, 41.4% of forest lands, and 10.2% of non-agricultural and non-forest lands.
  • Between 2005 and 2020, the area of agricultural land decreased by 2.4% (-57,954 ha) to the current 2,375,025 ha. Increase was recorded for water bodies by 2% (+1 869 ha) and forest land by 1.3% (+ 22 618 ha).
  • On the contrary, the agricultural land area has been steadily decreasing since 1990.
Change since 2005 Change since 2015 Last year-on-year change
emo_neutral emo_neutral Neutralny trend
Since 2005, the area of forest land has been increasing, and on the contrary, the area of agricultural land has been steadily decreasing. Since 2015 a slighter trend of forest land increase has been continuing.  The biggest changes in the use of land were reported in the increase of built-up areas and courtyards, mainly at the expense of agricultural land. YoY, the decline of agricultural land and an increase in forest land and built-up areas and courtyards occurred again.


Summary assessment

Detailed assessment

Soil with its humus horizon is formed in the soil-forming long process, lasting hundreds to thousands of years. In addition to many environmental functions, it is indispensable environment for many living organisms.

Anthropogenic pressure on land causes the loss of agricultural and forest lands mainly at the expense of different investment purposes, for civil and residential construction, industrial construction, agricultural construction, the construction of water works, roads and highways. Protection of agricultural soil acreage against an unauthorized use for non-agricultural purposes, as well as the procedure of land type change is provided by the Act no. 220/2004 Coll. on the Protection and use of agricultural land and on the modification of the Act no. 245/2003 Coll. on Integrated prevention and control of environmental pollution and on amending of certain laws. The Act no. 326/2005 Coll. on Forests, as amended, lays down the protection in case of their permanent set-aside, which means a permanent change of forest land or permanent change of land type.

From an environmental point of view, the permanent set-aside and transfer of agricultural land and forest land in the category of built-up areas and courtyards is a negative factor when the overburden of humus horizon is only its partial solution.

Development of land use changes (ha)

Land category 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011
Farmland 2 432 979 2 430 683 2 428 899 2 423 478 2 417 933 2 414 291 2 410 812
Forest lands 2 005 234 2 006 939 2 007 142 2 008 257 2 008 843 2 011 250 2 012 336
Water areas 93 381 93 325 93 656 94 575 94 645 94 761 94 764
Built-up areas and courtyards 226 257 227 092 227 931 229 059 229 941 230 589 231 967
Other areas 145 616 145 357 145 945 148 335 152 356 152 753 153 733


Land category 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
Farmland 2 405 971 2 401 693 2 397 041 2 389 616 2 385 328 2 381 953 2 379 101
Forest lands 2 014 059 2 015 368 2 017 105 2 020 116 2 022 522 2 024 374 2 026 027
Water areas 94 764 94 864 95 250 95 278 95 257 95 256 95 296
Built-up areas and courtyards 232 599 233 305  234 416 235 511 236 281 236 979 237 889
Other areas 156 163 158 301 159 679 162 937 164 046 164 858 165 094

Source: GCCA

International comparison

Changing the agricultural land or forest land to built-up area causes persistent soil degradation. Slovakia, when compared to neighbouring countries, belongs among the countries that have a lower share of land covered with artificial surfaces in the total area of territory (see a chart below).


Ing. Beata Kročková, SAŽP,

Related definitions:

Changes in land use represent annual losses or increases of the aggregate values of the various types of land.
Farmland is arable land, hop fields, vineyards, gardens, orchards and permanent grassland.
Forest lands consist of land covered with forest trees, lands on which forests were temporarily removed in order to restore them, lands without forest stands for forestry use, lands above the upper tree line in high mountain areas, with the exception of built-up lands and their access roads.
Water areas are rivers, streams, channels, canals, ponds, swamps, lakes, exposed groundwater as gravel and dredge quarries.
Built-up areas and courtyards consist of lands on which buildings and courtyards, highways, roads, local roads, tracks, airports and water constructions are built.

Other areas include handling and storage areas, lands that are used for the extraction of minerals and raw materials, lands related to electrical wiring or telecommunications networks. They also include special-purpose protective agricultural and environmental greenery of anti erosion measures, ornamental gardens, public greenery, cemeteries, lands for sports and recreational purposes, Zoos, open-air museums, monuments and other sites such as ponds, landfills, slopes and ravines. It also includes lands which ensure the purpose of various lands use (such as field paths, field dunghills, compost sites, liquid manure pits, dykes used for the protection of agricultural land against flooding and water-logging and others).


Types of lands and ways of their use are in the real estate cadastre marked with different codes according to Annex no. 1 and 2 of the Decree of the Geodesy, Cartography and
Cadastre Authority of the Slovak Republic no. 461/2009 Coll., implementing the Act of the National Council of the Slovak Republic no. 162/1995 Coll. on the Real estate cadastre and registration of ownership and other rights to immovable property (Cadastral Act), as amended.
According to the acts:
- no. 220/2004 Coll. on the Protection and use of agricultural land and on Act no. 245/2003 Coll. modification on Integrated prevention and control of environment pollution and on amendment of certain laws and
- no. 326/2005 Coll. on Forests, as amended, which provides for the definition of forest lands and their protection in the permanent set-aside, which means a permanent change of forest land use or permanent change of land type,
the body for the protection of agricultural land, which is the District Office - Land and Forest Department, issues a decision on a land type change. Subsequently, the district office sends a copy of decision on the agricultural land or forest land change to the competent authority of Geodesy, Cartography and Cadastre, which processes the data supplied.
Geodesy, Cartography and Cadastre Authority of SR (GCCA of SR) provides the data to the Statistical Office of SR and publishes the Statistical Yearbook of the SR land resources.

Data sources:

GCCA SR, Eurostat

Related indicators:

Related international indicators:

Linked references: