Obituary for Professor Miloš Stankoviansky (1947-2024)

On January 24, 2024, at the age of 76, the eminent Slovak geomorphologist Miloš Stankoviansky passed away.

He was born on July 14, 1947, in Myjava. His interest about environment and history of his birth place drove him to the study of geography at the Faculty of Natural Sciences, Comenius University in Bratislava (1965 to 1970).
In years 1970 to 2001 he worked at the Institute of Geography of the Slovak Academy of Sciences in Bratislava (IG SAS), where he finished his PhD study by defending a thesis entitled “Geomorphological conditions of the Hrabutnica River basin and the adjacent area with special regard to recent relief-forming processes” in 1977. Then he continued to work at the IG SAS as a researcher, and long-time scientific secretary. His research activities were mainly focused on dynamic geomorphology. He was significantly influenced by his collaboration with prof. Asher P. Schick of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. In the 1990s, he led a sub-team of IG SAS in a trilateral project coordinated by this internationally renowned fluvial geomorphologist. The evaluation of the response of various watersheds to the human activity was the aim of the project. The project directed his research activities towards the impact of human activities on recent slope processes and gully erosion. Gullies then became his companions until the end of his scientific research career. In 2001, he moved from the Institute of Geography of the Slovak Academy of Sciences to the Department of Physical Geography and Geoecology of the Faculty of Natural Sciences of Comenius University in Bratislava, where he had been lecturing externally since the late 1980s. Here he completed the work on his profile monograph “Geomorphological response of environmental changes in the territory of the Myjavská pahorkatina Upland“, for which he was awarded the Literary Fund Prize in 2003 and which he defended as his habilitation thesis in the same year. In 2003 he became the head of this Department and served in this position until 2011. In 2015 he was awarded the Gold Medal of the Faculty.

In the course of his professional career, Miloš Stankoviansky was involved in various aspects of geomorphological research – from general geomorphology and basic geomorphological mapping, through (morpho)structural, dynamic and historical geomorphology, to anthropogenic, engineering and environmental geomorphology. However, he gained the most significant recognition in the field of the geomorphological response of environmental (climatic and anthropogenic) changes in the present and historical landscape, due to the influence of runoff and ploughing processes. He was a pioneer of such research in Slovakia and built his scientific school based on that topic. The results of his research in the Myjavská pahorkatina Upland, through presentations at conferences, publications in renowned journals, conducting of excursions and accompanying numerous guests, have made it so visible that foreign colleagues have ranked it among the most important European research sites in this field.
He has achieved these results thanks to intensive contacts with the international scientific community. He has participated in exchange study and lecture stays in Florence (1993), Tokyo, Kyoto and Tsukuba (1996), Thessaloniki (2004), Belfast (2005), Kraków (2006 and 2009), Ljubljana (2007), Pilsen (2010) and has actively participated in dozens of international conferences. At several congresses of the International Association of Geomorphologists (IAG/AIG) he was the official representative of the Association of Slovak Geomorphologists, which he co-founded in 1996 and became the first chairman of its executive committee. He was also one of the protagonists of the activation of the Carpatho-Balkan Geomorphological Commission (KBGK) and from 2003 to 2007 he was the President of this regional geomorphological group. As President of the KBGK, he took the initiative to raise the visibility of this organization by obtaining the endorsement of the International Association of Geomorphologists, which was achieved by the adoption of the Carpatho-Balkan-Dinaric Regional Working Group (IAG/AIG CBDR-WG) at the IAG/AIG Congress in Zaragoza (2005). He has been its Chair throughout the whole period of its functioning from 2005 to 2013. He initiated and co-edited the monograph Recent Landform Evolution: the Carpathian-Balkan-Dinaric Region (Springer, 2012), which was co-edited by geomorphologists from all eleven member countries. He also served as the national representative of the Steering Committee of the projects on soil erosion within the European COST Programme: Action 623 Soil Erosion and Global Change (2001 to 2003), Action 634 On- and Off-site Environmental Impact of Runoff and Erosion (2004 to 2008).

The high international scientific reputation of Miloš Stankoviansky is illustrated by the organization of several very successful international conferences (International Symposium Time, Frequency and Dating in Geomorphology, 1992, COMTAG, IGU; International Symposium Geomorphic Response to Land Use Changes, 2000, GERTEC, IGU; Carpatho-Balkan Conference on Geomorphology, 2003), scientific field trips, invited lectures at the Universities of Leuven (1998), Kraków (2004), Louvain-la-Neuve (2006) and Brno (2011), and co-editorship of several special issues of international peer-reviewed journals. He was also a long-standing member of the editorial boards of several journals (Geomorphologia Slovaca et Bohemica, Studia Geomorphologica Carpatho-Balcanica, Folia Geographica and Landform Analysis).

Miloš Stankoviansky was a scientific and pedagogical personality of both Slovak and international geography and geomorphology, an extremely motivated and enthusiastic scientist, a tenacious field researcher, an excellent collaborator, a meticulous administrator and organizer, a friendly, helpful and competent teacher and, above all, a very honest, hard-working and beloved fellow, husband, father and grandfather.

Zora Machová, Jozef Minár, Ján Novotný