The Act on Nature and Landscape Protection recognises the six following categories of specially protected areas. The act sets out the basic conditions of protection for each specially protected area and directives set out the detailed conditions of protection with regard to the local conditions and character of the territory. A buffer zone may also be declared around all categories of specially protected areas within which certain activities, such as construction, are restricted and these buffer zones serve to protect the specially protected areas against disturbing influences from the surroundings.
The summary of specially protected areas as of 31st December, 2008
Source: AOPK ČR
According to the Act on Nature and Landscape Protection, a national park may be proclaimed on extensive areas which are unique on a national or international scale, a considerable part of which is covered by natural ecosystems or ecosystems little influenced by human activities where plants, animals and abiotic nature are of an exceptional scientific and educational importance. All utilisation of natural parks must be subordinated to preservation and improvement of the natural conditions and must be in conformity with scientific and educational objectives on the territory. The territory of national parks is divided into 3 zones of nature protection, of which the first zone is the core zone – the most valuable part of the territory with the strictest rules for protection.
At present there are 4 national parks in the Czech Republic (Šumava, Krkonoše, Podyjí and České Švýcarsko) and each national park is managed by its NP Administration.
Protected Landscape Areas
A protected landscape area may be proclaimed on a territory with a harmoniously formed landscape, a characteristically developed landscape, a significant proportion of natural ecosystems of forests and permanent grasslands, with abundant presence of woody plants or with preserved monuments of historical settlements. Individual zones of protection are also designated in protected landscape areas (usually 4) and economic usage of the territory is permissible, if it does not damage the natural values of the area.
At present there are 25 protected landscape areas in the Czech Republic and in the same manner as the national parks, each is managed by its own PLA Administration.
National parks and protected landscape areas are categorised as “large-size” specially protected areas. The following 4 categories of specially protected areas – national nature reserve, national nature monument, nature reserve and nature monument are classified as “small-size” specially protected areas and independent authorities to manage them are not established.
The map of National Parks and Protected Landscape Areas in the Czech Republic
National Nature Reserve
National nature reserves are smaller territories of exceptional natural values, where ecosystems which are important on a national or international scale are bound with natural relief and having a typical geological structure. These NNRs are the most strictly protected areas in the Czech Republic and the protection is targeted towards supporting the functioning of the ecosystem and its natural bonds.
National Nature Monument
A national nature monument may be declared to protect a natural formation of a smaller area, in particular a geological or geomorphological formation, mineral deposit or place of occurence of rare or endangered species, having national or international environmental, scientific or aesthetic importance. This can also include man-made formations. Management of these NNMs is usually targeted towards supporting the conservation and improvement of these territories and preventing or restricting succession.
A nature reserve may be declared on a smaller territory of concentrated natural values with occurence of ecosystems typical and important for the relevant geographical region. In principle this is similar to a national nature reserve but the territory is of regional or local importance and not national or international as in the case of a national nature reserve.
A nature monument may have similar characteristics to a national nature monument but is important on a local or regional scale.