Land use changes in cultural heritage landscapes in the Czech Republic

Authors and Affiliations: 

Markéta Šantrůčková, Lucie Bendíková

Silva Tarouca Research Institute for Landscape and Ornamental Gardening


According UNESCO World Heritage Convention we can distinguish three types of cultural landscapes: landscape designed and created intentionally by man, organically evolved landscape and associative cultural landscape. All three types are protected in the Czech Republic through Landscape Conservation Areas. By 2013 these areas were declared 19 and their total area is 24.3 km2. Although these areas were declared for protecting landscape character land use and land cover were and are changing. Monitoring of land use changes could be one of the set of indicators for monitoring changes of landscape and landscape character in cultural heritage landscapes. There are available accurate data about land use for each cadastral unit in the Czech Republic for years 1845, 1896, 1945, 1990, 2000 so we could determine land use changes for each cadastral unit from 1845 till now. The problem is that some cadastral boundaries have changed so some cadastral units have to be clustered to reach the most stable landscape units. These data are available in database LUCC Czechia (land use/cover changes) made in the Faculty of Science of the Charles University, Prague. The main methodological problem was that boundaries of the Landscape Conservation Areas were marked individually without regard to cadastral boundaries and comparable land use data are available only for clustered cadastral units. To obtain the most relevant information about land use changes within the Landscape Conservation Areas we disregarded the clustered cadastral units which fulfilled simultaneously these two conditions: the share of their area within the Landscape Conservation Area was less than 20 % and their area make less than 10 % of the area of the Landscape Conservation Area. In spite of this selection some areas outside the Landscape Conservation Areas were included in the assessment.

Seven comparable land use categories were set for studying land use changes in cultural heritage landscapes: arable land, permanent cultures, permanent grasslands, forests, water areas, built-up areas, remaining areas or other areas. In general we can distinguish several trends in land use changes for all Landscape Conservations Areas, arable land and permanent grasslands were decreasing on behalf of permanent cultures, built-up areas and remaining areas. Share of forests stay relatively unchanged. These changes correspond with general land use changes shifts in the Czech Republic but they are a bit slower. Of course, Landscape Conservation Areas are different each other, main differences are caused by geographical position, altitude, historical development (un/stableness of inhabitants after the WWS). Differences between individual Landscape Conservation Areas and their reasons are topics for further research.


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