Šumava Biosphere Re­serve (CZ)

Introduction into the region

The Šumava Biosphere Re­serve includes a substantial part of the north-east-facing Bohemian Forest, a large Hercynian middle-mountain range that straddles the border between the Czech Republic, Germany and Austria – almost at the geographical centre of Europe. Together with the Bavarian Forest, the Šumava mountains form the largest forest complex in Central Europe. Due to its situation within densely populated Central Europe, to its relatively high wildlife conservation, and to rich water resources, the region is often referred to as the "Green Roof of Europe", the international significance of which is ever-increasing.

Since 1963 the area was declared as Protected Landscape Area, 1990 follows the international declaration as biosphere reserve for the whole 160,000 ha. One year later the Šumava National Park was established as the largest among the three national parks in the Czech Republic with 69,030 ha. The most typical characteristics of the landscape are dominated by spruce forest, peat bogs, meadows and altitudes that vary between 1 378m and 490 m a.s.l. Within the biosphere reserve, the Šumava Peatlands were designated as a Ramsar site in 1993, including mountain raised bogs, valley bogs, waterlogged spruce forests and riparian wetlands of the River Vltava.

Political change that took place in Central and Eastern Europe in 1989 introduced quite new situation, plunging the Šumava Mts. immediately into European context. The typical features of the region, such as well preserved natural and cultural heritage, and distance from large population centres, were found as especially appropriate to commodification and valorisation of place and thus assumed to have positive values for tourism development. The region is very popular for cycling, hiking, mountain biking in summer, and cross-country and downhill skiing in winter. Nowadays economy of some villages inside the biosphere reserve depends to a great extent on tourism-related activities.

At a glance

>> Get an overview on VITAL LANDSCAPES activities in Šumava Biosphere Re­serve.


Jan Tesitel

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