1. Pressure on the environment
Although atmospheric emissions have considerably
decreased since 1990, air pollution still remains one of
the major environmental problems in the Czech Republic.
The new transport policy, characterized by the closure of
large sections of the railway network, a reduction in the
number of train services and the creation of favorable conditions
for freight road transport and for private car use has resulted
in the further deterioration of air quality. In addition
the development of the road network has caused the fragmentation
of the landscape and the disturbance of ecosystems (reference).
Air pollution is one of the main causes of forest damage
in the Czech Republic.
major problem is the high proportion of water courses with
poor drinking water quality (70 percent of drinking water
is derived from reservoirs that have high levels of nitrates
and are often eutrophicated). During the 1950 and 1960s
many hectares of field banks were ploughed up. Numerous
small streams were channelled and hectares of land drained.
Another major impact was the eutrophication and contamination
of agro-ecosystems by fertilizers and pesticides. Fortunately
the use of fertilizers and pesticides has decreased substantially
during recent years (reference).
unlicensed tips, dust and litter in cities and settlements
cause problems for the local environmental authorities.
Accumulated hazardous waste that requires treatment and
removal and waste disposal sites that need remediation are
also likely to remain significant priorities (reference).
State of the biota
air pollution and inappropriate silvicultural management
(e.g. inappropriate species composition focusing primarily
on conifer monocultures and inadequate pruning and thinning)
have increased the vulnerability of the forests to extreme
weather conditions, insect pests, fungal diseases, and other
types of damage with the result that forests in the Czech
Republic are among the most heavily damaged in Europe.
deterioration and destruction is the main threat to many
wild plant species and plant communities. The impacts can
be direct (construction of roads, dams and water reservoirs,
regulation of rivers, changing natural or semi-natural habitats
into cultivated plots, etc.), or indirect (transmitted)
from a sometimes very distant source (long-range pollution
and contamination, acidification, change of hydrological
situation of whole regions etc.). Some species disappear
due to the abandonment of traditional land-use, e.g. critical
situation of the Spring Gentian (Gentiana vernalis)
or two rare Pasque Flowers (Pulsatilla). The new
threat is allochtonous invasive species that suppress the
native flora and vegetation. A striking example is the fast
spreading of Giant Hogweed (Heracleum mantegazzianum,
Czech Republic has a relatively high biological and landscape
diversity, and important continental migration routes run
through its territory, such as the main Eurasian bird flyways.
After the political changes and separation
from Slovakia, the Czech Environmental Inspectorate was
created in an attempt to move environmental policy-making
ahead. The establishment of the Ministry of Environment
signalled the end of the formerly highly ineffective and
sectorially divided environmental protection agencies. One
of the first acts of the Ministry was the preparation of
the State Programme for the Protection of the Environment
are six biosphere reserves and ten Ramsar sites. The protected
areas cover approximately 13.8 percent of the whole territory.
Besides the conservation of the habitats, scientific research
takes place in the four national parks with the aim to restore
The national parks are the following:
(Giant Mountains) NP, established in 1963
(Bohemian Forest) NP, established in 1991
National Park (Thaya River Valley), established
Svycarsko (Bohemian-Saxonian Switzerland) NP,
Institutional background - links
of Sciences of the Czech Republic
of Landscape Ecology
of Soil Biology
of Vertebrate Biology