Sunday, 23 April 2017

Czech environmentalists want more wild nature

ČTK |
26 July 2016

Prague, July 25 (CTK) - Wild nature spreads on a mere 0.3 percent of the territory of the Czech Republic, but it could be enlarged in the future for the sake of promoting biodiversity and also as a tourist attraction, daily Lidove noviny (LN) writes on Monday.

The Friends of the Earth movement, in cooperation with leading environmentalists, has chosen five localities in the country which, they say, have preconditions for becoming areas without human interference, LN writes.

It writes that the Environment Ministry is ready to discuss the idea, but it considers debate on specific localities premature.

"First, we must discuss the definition of the wild," the ministry said.

The idea is not liked, however, by the owners of the land, or the Lesy CR forest company in most cases, LN writes.

Jiri Kozelouh, the programme director of the Friends of the Earth, writes in the introduction to the study called The Czech Wild that "large areas which are not influenced by man are the sole places where natural evolution is possible. They are also important as comparative samples of the economic landscape," LN writes.

"Sufficiently large areas of forest segments left to spontaneous development can show us what is happening in nature now, under the existing environmental conditions, and explain why it is happening. It is the sole opportunity to understand how the environment is changing and how it will probably be changing," Kozelouh writes.

Environmentalists now negotiate with the environment, agriculture and defence ministries, which manages former military districts, and experts on the matter, LN writes.

It writes that the Czech Republic could find inspiration from the attitude to the wild in Germany. In its Strategy of biological diversity protection, Germany has set the goal of having 2 percent of its territory left to spontaneous development, LN writes.

The Friends of the Earth movement wants the wild to be open to the public to be a sort of tourist attraction where people could follow how nature is changing by itself, LN writes.

It writes that there is no need to have any legislation for the wild. The demand for wild nature is big, LN quotes Eliska Voznikova, Landscape programme head of the Friends of the Earth, as saying.

However, Lesy CR is "sceptical about the possibility of creating large-scale wilderness within the Czech cultural landscape that has been managed for thousands of years and that is densely populated," Daniel Szorad, Lesy CR director general, told LN.

He said his company already now has eight areas where timber is not lumbered and the forest is left to spontaneous development. They spread on a total of 605.5 hectares.

However, the Friends of the Earth wants such areas to be large. That is why it looks for localities minimally ten square kilometres large, where natural dynamism could be resumed and where changes to nature could be watched, LN writes.

"There is naturally need for wild nature. The declining biodiversity and the dying out of species are a world-wide problem. The biggest number of species is lost by that habitats not influenced by man are disappearing," LN quotes Pavel Kindlmann, from the Faculty of Science of Charles University, as saying.

But some experts warn of risks at the same time. "It is necessry to first say what you want to protect. Many species need man's activity," he said.

He cited a butterfly species which needs glades. These are created by forest managers. If left to spontaneous development, the clearings overgrow and the butterfly may disappear within a few decades, LN quotes Jan Losik, from the Faculty of Science of Palacky University, as saying.

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