Protected areas - Nature Conservation Agency of the Czech Republic
Conservation of protected areas is included in Act No. 114/1992 on the Conservation of Nature and Landscape, and in Decree No. 45/2018 on the Management Plans and Designation of Protected Areas, and in Decree No. 395/1992. Protected areas are divided into two types: large-scale protected areas and small-scale protected areas.
Large-scale specially protected areas are divided into following categories:
- National Park (NP)
- Protected Landscape Area (PLA)
Small-scale specially protected areas are divided into these categories:
- National Nature Reserve (NNR)
- National Nature Monument (NNM)
- Nature Reserve (NR)
- Nature Monument (NM)
National Parks are large areas that are unique at either a national or international level. Most of them consist of natural ecosystems or ecosystems little influenced by man, whose fauna, flora, and abiotic nature are of exceptional scientific and educational significance. National Park Authorities are not part of the NCA. There are four National Parks in the Czech Republic with their own independent authorities (Krkonošský NP, Šumava NP, České Švýcarsko NP, Podyjí NP).
Protected Landscape Areas (PLAs) are large areas of landscape formed in a balanced way, with characteristic relief, a significant portion of natural forest, and permanent graminaceous vegetation ecosystems, a large portion consisting of woody species and in some cases conserved historical settlement monuments. The NCA executes state administration in nature conservation in 24 PLAs. The exception are two additional PLAs –Šumava PLA, which is governed by the administration of the National Park of the same name, and Labské pískovce PLA, governed by the České Švýcarsko NP.
Protected Landscape Areas represent IUCN category V in the Czech Republic. They are designated by the government of the Czech Republic and each governmental order sets out the mission and specific conservation measures of each PLA. The process of designation includes negotiations with landowners, municipalities, regional and central authorities, and other stakeholders.
There is a management plan elaborated for each PLA, usually for a period of 10 years. The management plans are prepared by the NCA and approved by the Ministry of Environment in a process involving stakeholder consultation.
National Nature Reserves are defined as small-scale areas of exceptional value, unique ecosystems of national or international significance in combination with natural relief and typical geological features.
National Nature Monuments and Nature Monuments are defined as small-scale natural features. In particular they are landforms or geological features, mineral resource localities, or areas where rare or vulnerable species occur in the remnants of ecosystems. Where there is an ecological, scientific, or aesthetic significance either a national or international level, the area (even a manmade area) is designated a national nature monument.
Nature Reserves are small-scale areas where natural rarities are concentrated and a typical and significant ecosystem of the geographical area is present.
According to Act No. 114/1992, there are certain restrictions regarding specially protected areas. These restrictions depend on the protected area category and, in the case of NPs and PLAs, also on their zoning. The state body responsible for designating can establish additional, more detailed protection conditions. This is in practice a list of activities that can be carried on only with a prior permit issued by the competent nature conservation authority. The designation decree of each protected area defines these detailed protection conditions.