Český les PLA, having been established by Government Decree on 12th January, 2005 is by far the youngest PLA in the Czech Republic. The protected area lies on the territory of the Plzeň region, within the catchment of the administrative towns (former counties) of Domažlice and Tachov. The headquarters of the PLA can be found in the town of Přimda.
Until 1990, a large part of the territory of the PLA, was within the heavily militarised border zone, between the ‘Iron Curtain’ and the West German border. After 1945, the German majority population was expelled from the area and most of the villages in Český les were abandoned. For these reasons, the territory is relatively undisturbed by human interference. Ecologists were aware of the natural significance of the whole area, but during Communist times it was impossible to implement large–surface protection of the area. With the arrival of freedom in the area after the Velvet Revolution, pressure began to grow to utilise the areas resources for economic gain. Our aim was to prevent uncontrolled building and the destruction of the landscape it could cause. Ecologists have been given a unique opportunity, with the declaration of the PLA, to prevent potential negative activities in the area and to achieve an optimal balance of landscape usage on the territory, while taking into account the special characteristics of the region.
The Protected Landscape Area includes most of the border mountain range of Český les, spanning from Broumov to Folmava over a total length of approximately 65 km, divided by the Kateřinská kotlina basin into a northern section (one-third of the territory) and a southern section (two-thirds of the territory). The total area of the PLA is around 470 km².
On the territory of the PLA, we can find the Čerchovské hvozdy National Nature Reserve, Na Požárech National Nature Monument, 16 Nature Reserves and 5 Nature Monuments. The total area of small-scale Specially Protected Areas within the PLA is 805,9 ha (1,7 % of PLA´s territory). Within Český les we can also find 4 proposed Sites of Community Importance under the Natura 2000 system. Kateřinský potok and Nivní potok streams with populations of European beaver, a section of the Radbůza river near Nový Dvůr with a population of the stone crayfish (Austropotamobius torrentium), Nemanický potok, a locality for brook lamprey (Lampetra planeri) and Čerchovský les forest. All of these territories serve to protect the most precious natural elements of Český les.