Environment Ministry Launches Process To Protect South Moravia’s Soutok Natural Area
The public consultation will last for 90 days. Credit: JMK.
Breclav, South Moravia, 25 August (CTK) – Soutok in South Moravia could become a protected landscape area (CHKO) within the next year, Environment Minister Petr Hladik (KDU-CSL) told reporters today.
The Environment Ministry launched a 90-day public consultation, which will be followed by an evaluation period. Subsequently, the government must declare Soutok as a CHKO, Hladik said.
The creation of the Soutok CHKO will mark the culmination of the decades-long effort to protect the floodplain forests, which are unique in the Czech Republic.
“We are beginning a process that was preceded by hundreds of negotiations,” said Hladik. “The CHKO means a truly systemic approach to nature and landscape protection, so that valuable things are preserved for our children and grandchildren, while not going against the interests of tourism. On the contrary, this approach can support and direct it in such a way that tourism can function.”
The total area of the future CHKO is 127 square kilometres, and in addition to the southernmost tip of South Moravia, the proposal also includes the areas around the Morava River to Hodonin and along the Dyje (Thaya) River north of Breclav to Nove Mlyny, which is a substantial part of the Lednice-Valtice area.
The locality has been proposed for greater protection by the Nature and Landscape Conservation Agency (AOPK) for 75 years, but it is only now that a consensus has been found. AOPK staff incorporated the demands of municipalities, associations and landowners into the current proposal, and the pre-negotiation phase ended in June.
Environmental organisations, which have long warned that old growth and dozens of rare plant and animal species could disappear from the area, have welcomed the launch of the protection process. According to Friends of the Earth, the current proposal is a promising compromise.
“The establishment of a protected landscape area will ensure clear and transparent management of the locality,” said the NGO in a press release. “It will bring opportunities to finance revitalization projects and more nature-friendly farming methods. Protecting the nature of the Moravian Amazonia will also provide a guarantee against potentially destructive construction or other projects that would devastate the local landscape.”