|Šumava National Park, Czech Republic
The Šumava National Park that is also a Special Protection Area (SPA) under the EU Birds Directive holds the last viable population of Capercaillie in the Czech Republic numbering more than 300 individuals. The absence of a clear nature protection strategy coupled with wide-spread and intensive logging in the area has been detrimental to the local biodiversity including the last Capercaillie population. The current management plans are out-of-date and some have been cancelled without any compensation. CSO (BirdLife in the Czech Republic) urges the state authorities to address the devastation occurring in the SPA Šumava National Park and to respect the national and international legislation.
SPA and National Park Šumava together with the neighbouring Bavarian Forest creates the most extensive forest landscape in Central Europe, called the “Green Roof of Europe”. It was declared SPA because of the occurrence of several bird species, the most significant among them are the mountain spruce forest specialists like Three-toed woodpecker and Capercaillie. The area holds the last viable population of Capercaillie in Czechia numbering more than 300 individuals. Despite it experienced significant increase during the last 15 years, the future the prospects are bad, because of increased logging and development activities. There has been an absence of a clear conservation strategy, including out-of-date or annulled management plans, coupled with wide-spread and intensive logging in the area that has been driven by new developed pathways and ski-resorts in core zones. This has been detrimental to the local biodiversity including the last Capercaillie population in the Czech Republic.
Due to political changes, since 2010 major changes in the management of Šumava National Park are taking place. The political direction is driven by local mayors, developers and land owners who use the spread of the Bark beetle and subsequent decay of mature tree floor in the mountain spruce forests as an excuse for wide-spread deforestation, followed by development projects, e.g. ski areas. Scientific arguments as well as national and international legislation are ignored. The absence of a clear conservation strategy and newly proposed ski-areas would be detrimental for the local biodiversity including the last Capercaillie population in the Czech Republic. Recent development plans led to an outcry among activists who blocked logging, followed by a police action in summer 2011. Subsequently, a court ruled that the police action was illegal and the Minister of Environment promised to stabilize the situation by developing a compromise solution. However, CSO remains doubtful if this will lead to an effective solution.
CSO is involved in this campaign, advocating compliance of state authorities with national and international legislation. The organisation provides expert information to the media, and co-operates with other NGOs at national and European level, supported by the whole BirdLife network.
CSO (BirdLife Partner in Czech Republic)
Zdeněk Vermouzek, verm(at)birdlife.cz