České středohoří Protected Landscape Area

Basic information

The České středohoří PLA has an area of 1063 km² and can be found in North Bohemia, on both banks of the Czech part of the Labe (Elbe) river. The area was declared as a PLA on 19th March, 1976, and lies on the territory of two regions, Ústecký kraj and Liberecký kraj, and on the territory of seven former counties, Česká Lípa, Děčín, Litoměřice, Louny, Most, Teplice, Ústí nad Labem. A total of 236 towns and villages lies within the PLA completely and another 99 lie partly within it. Around 84 % of the geomorphological unit of the Czech middle-mountains lie within the PLA. The PLA has approximately 140,000 inhabitants, which is more than twice as many as in other PLAs of similar size. In terms of area, České středohoří is the second largest PLA in the Czech Republic. České středohoří catches every visitor’s attention from afar with its landscape of dynamic reliefs consisting of a wavy landscape of volcanic cones and plugs, often topped with the ruins of medieval castles on their peaks.

The main reasons for declaring České středohoří as a PLA are as follows: a landscape relief unique within the realms of central Europe, the wide variety of geological structures found here and the exceptionally wide species diversity of flora and fauna. The PLA is also unusual for its unique precipitation gradient from south–west to north–east, the river valley phenomenon of the Labe and Ploučnice valleys and the high proportion of agricultural land including vineyards (66.69 % of the total area of the PLA).

A total of 43 small–scale Specially Protected Areas have been declared on the territory of the PLA: localities with conserved ecosystems with steppe, rock and forest vegetation and important geological formations. There are 5 national nature reserves (Lovoš, Milešovka, Oblík, Raná and Sedlo), 8 national nature monuments (e.g. Bílé stráně, Borečský vrch, Březinské tisy, Dubí hora, Kamenná slunce), 12 nature reserves (e.g. Březina, Holý vrch, Kalvárie, Kamenná hůra, Lipská hora) and 18 nature monuments (e.g. Lužické šípáky, Plešivec, Radobýl, Tobiášův vrch, Třtěnské stráně). There are also more than 120 tree monuments within the PLA territory.

Some of these reserves are within the Natura 2000 system and are also included on the national list of proposed Sites of Community Importance (pSCIs). On the territory of the PLA, we can find a total of 21 sites included in the Natura 2000 system for a number of reasons - the grassy steppes which are typical for České středohoří, as well as forest steppes, rock formations and talus fields (e.g. Lovoš, Křížové vršky, Radobýl and Milešovka pSCIs). These are complemented by a number of sites included to protect Species of Community Interest, e.g. the crayfish Astacus torrentium in Luční potok pSCI, Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) and otter (Lutra lutra) in Dolní Ploučnice pSCI and the grasshopper Stenobrothus eurasius bohemicus at Milá pSCI. Specially protected plant species include the feather-grass (Stipa zalesskii) at Oblík, Brník and Srdov, lily-leaf ladybells (Adenophora liliifolia) at Babinské louky, eastern pasque flower (Pulsatilla patens) at Holý vrch and Hradiště and lady’s slipper (Cypripedium calceolus) at Bílé stráně.