Geopark Ralsko (Czech Republic)

Recreation services and biodiversity of forest lands in the National Geopark Ralsko in Northern Bohemia

© Technology Centre CAS

© Technology Centre CAS

© Technology Centre CAS

© Technology Centre CAS

© Technology Centre CAS

© Technology Centre CAS

© Technology Centre CAS

The preparations for the establishment of the National Geopark Ralsko started in 2013, the park was certified by the Ministry of Environment in 2016. The Geopark Ralsko extends on 29400 hectares (294 km2). About 90% of the Geopark area is covered by forests: spruce tree forests, pine tree forest and mixed forests with a significant share of beech trees.

The value of the forests accumulated for centuries, and particularly  between 1948 to 1991 when most of the Geopark was designated military area. The military area included military airport Hradcany and military research centre in Brehyne. Actually only a small part of the area was utilised by the armed forces, most of the area were protection zones closed to public. Low level of human activities provided habitat for wildlife. It was recognised already in the 1960s and biodiversity protection territories were gradually established. Military activities of the occupation Soviet Army caused serious damages on forests and polluted soils in some parts of the forests in the military area, however most natural values continued to enjoy relatively quiet conditions for their preservation and development. After the withdrawal of the Soviet army the Czech Army started decontamination of the polluted parts (it included pyrotechnical and chemical decontamination which lasted roughly 10 years). In meantime it was clear that the area no longer will be used by the army. There were some attempts to privatize the forests, the regional government (Liberecky kraj), and local municipalities were interested in getting the forests in their ownership. Finally, the government decided to keep most of the former military are in the state ownership.

Nowadays 80% of the forest area (23520 ha) is owned by the state and manged by the state company Vojenske lesy a statky (VLS / Military Forests and Farms). The rest belongs to Municipalities Ralsko, Mimon and Doksy and some individual owners.

About one third of the Geopark area is protected in the Protected Landscape Area Kokorinsko- Machuv Kraj. It means that 7056 hectares of forests are under restricted regime of cultivation and recreational use. However, these restrictions are mostly moderate allowing cultivation of production forests and free access of visitors. The exceptions are highly protected conservation areas – these extent on 1385 hectares. Here, only natural forests are allowed (no logging) and access of visitors is regulated – moving strictly along the marked paths and the number of hiking tracts is limited, no cyclo- or equestrian routes are permitted.

PG Recreation

In the CZ-2  case study  we concentrate on two public goods: Recreational services of forests and biodiversity conservation.

We consider recreational service of forests depending on the possibility to access them which in turn means on the investment and maintenance of the respective infrastructure like hiking tracks, bike and horse riding routes, parking and rest places etc. In our calculations these are integral parts of the calculated costs of the PG provision.

Recreational services of the forests were stressed by the participants of the 1st stakeholder workshop frequently. They mentioned various modes of the use of landscape for recreation (e.g. tourism, sports, cycling). Forests are significant landscape elements of the Ralsko area. The specify of this area is that a substantial part of forests belong to the Czech Army (a former Soviet Army territory between 1968-1990). Some spots were polluted heavily.  The socio-economic function of landscape PG refers to the revitalization of the former uranium mines and the military base. The landscape with deep forests and some geomorphological amenities was perceived as a key for developing tourism and recreational services.

Economic valuation studies for the public goods recreational services and landscape values of forests were carried out in the Geopark Ralsko for the supply and demand side. Read more…

Revealed Preference Methods
Cost Accounting

Collaboration and Partnerships

Read more … on the governance solution looking at diffrent funding opportunities for the Geopark.

Stakeholder Portal

Here you can find outcomes of the participatory meetings.




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