‘Moravian Amazon’ to receive protected status by mid-2024

Environmentalists say the unique floodplain area shrunk in size due to poor management.

Expats.cz Staff

Written by Expats.cz Staff Published on 07.03.2023 07:30:00 (updated on 06.03.2023) Reading time: 1 minute

A new protected landscape area located at the confluence of the Morava and Dyje rivers, which form the largest floodplain forests in Central Europe, is in the works, the Environment Ministry and the regional authorities announced yesterday in a press release.

The ministry has agreed on the mode of its protection with local mayors and the South Moravia region.

The government pledged in its policy statement that Soutok will be a national park, adding that the protected landscape area is the first step towards its designation.

"The Soutok area is a unique and extremely valuable area on a pan-European scale. It is the largest complex of alluvial forests in Central Europe. Now it should receive full-scale protection and become a protected landscape area," the Environment Ministry said.

Environmentalists have been sounding alarm bells about the disappearing floodplain forests in the region for decades, ČTK reports.

soutok at a glance

  • The "Moravian Amazon" is the biggest surviving floodplain forest area in Czechia, known for its solitary oaks, and extraordinary biodiversity.
  • Czechia currently has 26 protected landscape areas, but only two small national reserves with floodplain forests whose land belongs in its entirety to the state forestry company Lesy České republiky.
  • The Soutok area will encompass about 10 municipalities.

Estimates say that between 1990 and 2009 over half of the trees vanished from the area. Lesy České republiky dismissed the criticism, saying that the present-day floodplain forests in the area are the result of more than three centuries of forest management.

Deputy Environment Minister Petr Hladík said that the political will to grant the area protected status has been lacking, despite its uniqueness earning it comparisons to the Amazon.

Hladík said that practical issues such as zoning need to be taken care of before the Environment Ministry can start the designation process. As such, the area is likely to receive protected status by mid-2024. This could potentially pave the way for Soutok to become a national park one day, Hladík added. 

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