Vimperk, South Bohemia, March 16 (CTK) – A brief profile of the Sumava National Park (NP), situated in south and west Bohemia, on the occasion of the 25-year anniversary of its establishment.
Establishment: by a government decree from March 20, 1991, which took effect on May 10, 1991.
Area: 680 square kilometres, the largest of the four Czech national parks; it was designated from the largest protected landscape area (CHKO) in Czechoslovakia, the Sumava CHKO, founded on the area of 1630 square kilometres in 1963.
Location: the park is situated along the border with Austria and Germany on the territory of the South Bohemia and Plzen regions, west Bohemia. It is connected with the Bavarian Forest National Park (240 square km) on the German side of the border, and surrounded by the Sumava CHKO on the Czech side.
Characteristics: the largest continuous complex of forests in Central Europe (forests cover about 80 percent of the park’s area); the drainage divide of the North Sea (Vltava/Moldau River) and the Black Sea (Danube); the park is situated from 570 metres above the sea level to 1378 metres above the sea level; three of the five glacial lakes in Sumava (Plesne, Laka, Prasilske) are in the park.
Protection: three zones (protection level) – the first zone is left to spontaneous development (about 13 percent of the NP’s area), the second and largest zone (82 percent of the are) is the target of all activities to preserve a balance in the wild and gradually approach the existing ecosystems to the natural ones, the marginal third zone covers the localities quite changed by human activities and built-up areas.
Settlement: seven villages (Borova Lada, Horska Kvilda, Kvilda, Modrava, Prasily, Srni, Stozec) and several local settlements; some 1200 permanent inhabitants.
Sumava CHKO: 990 square kilometres divided into four protection zones; including some rare parts of Sumava – four national reserves (Cerne and Certovo lakes, Boubin virgin forest, Bila strz ravine, Velka niva meadow) and several dozen natural reserves and landmarks (over 60 square kilometres of specially protected areas in the CHKO, which is some 6 percent of its total area); most of the Lipno artificial lake lies there.
Seat of Sumava NP and CHKO Administration: Vimperk (Prachatice district).
Management: current director Pavel Hubeny (from May 2014 till June 2015 as acting director).
– The way of protection of the Sumava NP and mainly human intervention in its forests have been subject to long-term disputes. They concern, for instance, the fight with the bark beetle. A group of experts and laymen want the bark beetle-hit trees to be felled even in the most strictly protected zone, while the others want to leave the forests to spontaneous development. The NP directors supported both approaches alternately in the past years.
– In the spring of 2014, a new three-year plan of care for the Sumava park for 2014-2017 was completed by director Jiri Manek who was dismissed in April 2014. The plan was approved by Environment Minister Richard Brabec (ANO). Under the plan, the most protected zone would cover 23 percent of the area, that is some 16,000 hectares. Some scientists and environmentalists criticised it and demanded that this zone cover up to 50 percent of the area, with which representatives of the Sumava municipalities disagreed.
The Prague City Court complied with a complaint filed by several Sumava municipalities and ordered the Environment Ministry to cancel the plan of care of the Sumava park at the end of 2014. Last February, the Supreme Administrative Court turned down the Environment Ministry’s complaint against it and upheld the verdict.
– In June 2014, senators approved a special bill on the Sumava National Park, but the Chamber of Deputies rejected it in the first reading and preferred the park to be dealt with in an amendment to the law on nature and landscape protection, which Brabec promised. The amendment, which is being debated in the lower house, is to take effect as of January 2017.