Land use - State and impacts (Czech Republic)

SOER 2010 Common environmental theme (Deprecated)
This is an old version, kept for reference only.

Go to latest version
This page was archived on 21 Mar 2015 with reason: A new version has been published
SOER Common environmental theme from Czech Republic
Land Land
more info
Organisation name
Reporting country
Czech Republic
Organisation website
Organisation website
Contact link
Contact link
Last updated
26 Nov 2010
Content license
CC By 2.5
Content provider
Published: 26 Nov 2010 Modified: 11 May 2020 Feed synced: 26 Nov 2010 original
Key message

There is an increase of built-up areas and fragmentation which leads to the reduction of landscape stability. Defoliation of forest growth is also despite the slower rate still high.

The territory of the Czech Republic is characterised by rugged topography, scattered settlements and above-average forest coverage. The significantly rugged topography of the territory causes a differentiation of climatic conditions and a related variety of land-use categories within a relatively small country. Arable land is represented to an above-average extent compared to the other European countries. By the end of 2008, it covered 38 % of the territory of the Czech Republic. In general, land-use categories that are unfavourable to biological diversity (see Fig.), i.e. arable and transformed land, cover approximately one-half of the territory. Very unfavourable built-up areas and other areas cover about 10 % of the country.

Land use trends in the Czech Republic since 2000 show a slow decline in arable land area, which has been replaced by built-up or otherwise transformed areas (such as road infrastructure), see Fig. According to the available data, no significant proportion of land is being appropriated for more favourable land use categories (forests or pastures), and such a decline is compensated for by the transformation of arable land to these categories (forestation or planting of grass in localities that are not fit for agricultural use). Although the reduction of arable land is extremely favourable for the environmental stability of the landscape (since farming of arable land is connected with the use of agricultural chemicals and other interference with landscape functions), this positive effect is clearly outweighed by the increase of artificial and built-up areas, whose proportion and dynamic is the key indicator of anthropogenic impacts on the landscape.

The growth of these land use categories accelerated significantly after 2000 (see Fig.). Although built-up areas fluctuated and a more significant increase only occurred after 2005, the category of other spaces has had a permanently increasing tendency since 2000, and its share in total land use indicates that residential and commercial buildings have been constructed not only on ’green fields’ but also on previously built-up land (e.g. old industrial plants, storage areas, etc.). The key driving forces of this tendency have been the urbanisation process (particularly suburbanisation and urban sprawl) and the construction of transport infrastructure – see the next chapter.

Changes in landscape coverage may also be assessed in accordance with the CORINE Land Cover (CLC) database, which was elaborated on the basis of a uniform method for all EU Member States (and for some non-members, such as Norway and Turkey) by means of interpretation of remote sensing data (satellite and aerial images). This database was updated for 2000 and 2006, for which ten-year (1990–2000) and six-year (2000–2006) change maps are available.

According to the CORINE database for 2006, which monitors changes larger than five hectares that are at least 100 m wide, it can be said that the area of arable land is being reduced in favour of perennial grass stands (by 620.5 km2 i.e. by approximately 2 % of the total arable land), which is the largest identified change, followed by vineyards (by 45.6 km2) and orchards. Furthermore, the results indicate that, since 2000, forest renewal has outpaced deforestation. As indicated by the speed of the growth of transformed land (which is considered urbanised land in the CLC nomenclature but which does not solely represent urban land), the significant increases in this category during the five years in question (2000-2006), i.e. about 69 km2, was approximately the same as during the previous ten years (1990-2000). The highest increase in this category was recorded for construction sites (30.5 km2 in 2006 as opposed to 5.6 in 2000). See here for additional information about CORINE project (CZ version).

At present, the most serious risks for the landscape include the gradual restriction of its passability, particularly due to fragmentation by linear structures and fencing, and the continuing development of the landscape. The construction of highways and expressways, modification of railway corridors and new developments lead to fragmentation of the landscape and disturbance of its function. It is a process which gradually splits the coherent natural environment into small mutually isolated localities that gradually lose their function. This process represents one of the most serious factors threatening the existence of many species.

Additional information:





Filed under:

The country assessments are the sole responsibility of the EEA member and cooperating countries supported by the EEA through guidance, translation and editing.

Filed under: SOER2010, land
Document Actions