Krkonoše Mountains National Park and surrounding area, Czech Republic
The Krkonoše National Park (KRNAP) in northern Czech on the Polish border is an extraordinary phenomenon in central Europe. The unique natural, cultural and historical value of the Krkonoše Mountains has been known for centuries. They are the highest mountains in the Czech Republic and its highest peak is the Sněžka at 1,603m.
The bio-geographical location of the Krkonoše Mts. gives these middle-mountains a varied mosaic of montane spruce and mixed forests, tall herb meadows, dwarf pine communities, Nardus grasslands, sub-arctic peat bogs and lichen tundra. Arcto-alpine tundra covers 4% of the territory. Click here For a short film about the tundra.
Despite its relatively small area, the Krkonoše Mts. harbour many rare and endemic plants, such as Sorbus sudetica, Campanula bohemica, Viola lutea subsp. sudetica, Pedicularis sudetica. The high level of species diversity in plant communities and the presence of different types of vegetation dependant on altitude from sub-montane to alpine also determine the composition of fauna. Of particular interest is the occurence of glacial relicts (Vertigo arctica, Luscinia svecica) and endemics (Cochlodina dubiosa corcontica, Psodos quadrifaria sudetica).
Human impact on the Krkonoše‘s environment dates back to 13th century (settlement, mining, natural resources industry, livestock grazing). The threat to the area's natural assets perceived by wise and far-sighted individuals led to protection measures being introduced over time.
In 1959, the Karkonosze National Park on the Polish side of the mountains was established with an area of 55 km2. The Krkonoše National Park (KRNAP) was established in 1963 as the first national park in the Czech Republic. Its present area comprises almost 370 km2.
The Krkonoše Mts. are visited by 6 million people a year on the Czech side, there are facilities for year-round recreation. The impact of tourism poses a serious threat to the unique environment of the national park.
Both Krkonoše/Karkonosze National Parks became a member of European protected areas (EUROPARC) in 1990. Since 1992, the Krkonoše Mts. have been included into the World Network of UNESCO Biosphere Reserves within Man and Biosphere Programme (MaB). KRNAP is also involved in NATURA 2000, Ramsar Convention, LTER (The Long Term Ecological Research Network) and EUROSITE network. You can see a short film about the Krkonoše National Park here.
If you live/work in the region of Krkonoše Mountains National Park and if you are interested to take part in strategy development for a better green infrastructure in this area please feel free to contact Martin Erlebach from the Krkonoše Mountains National Park Administration in Vrchlabí.
Header photo: KRNAP/Pavla Marešová