Case Study

Cumulative Effects of Development on Meadows in the Krkonoše Mountains

Contact name

Stanislav Březina

Institution name

The Krkonoše Mts National Park Administration

Region & country

Krkonoše Mts - Czech Republic


An old Czech proverb says that “One hundred times nothing has killed a donkey”. In other words, many small burdens add up to a big crushing burden. This aptly depicts the essence of the problem we are facing each and every day within various fields of our activities. In the following article, the authors explain the ways how they undertake to tackle the issue of cumulative effects of development on traditionally managed meadows of the Krkonoše National Park (KRNAP). At the same time, they seek to stimulate the indispensable thorough debate among the respective professional public.

Peat bogs and mount Snezka

Photo by: Krkonoše National Park Administration

Background of the project

More than a third of recently implemented investments in the Krkonoše are located in meadows of a significant environmental and scientific value. Integration of the Krkonoše in the Natura 2000 Network brought certain hope for substantial improvement in the situation. Nevertheless, following five years of existence of Natura 2000 in the Krkonoše National Park, the pace of development in its peripheries is still fast and the area of Natura 2000 meadows has already dropped by more than 1%.

Individual buildings would take up a maximum of hundred percent of the total area of meadows in the Krkonoše. This itself does not commonly justify a decision declaring a significantly negative impact nor does it comply with the criteria for expert Opinion under sec.45i to state that a “significant impact may not be excluded“. While assessing the impact of development projects on the Krkonoše meadows, we would also have to take into account their overall, i.e. cumulative, effects.

Solution and actions taken

KRNAP Administration developed a methodology for quantitative assessment of cumulative effects.

KRNAP Administration established a maximum area of meadow habitats that may be “cut off“ by overall development while still not causing any negative impact on the local meadows. The KRNAP Administration may, in justified cases, exclude any negative impacts of individual small-scale projects on the subject of conservation in SCI Krkonoše until the moment when the established limit is reached.

Other institutions or parties involved

NGO Ametyst and experts who do the Approppriate Assessment.


The limits are accepted by experts who do Approppriate Assessment and by municipalities. The concept of assessment of cumulative effects are accepted by Czech Ministry of Environment as official methodology.


  • The pressure of strong investors to break the limits.

Lessons learned

  • Significant losses to nature result from cumulative effects of small projects.
  • AA can efficiently reduce such losses only if it estimates the cumulative effects really appropriately.
  • Appropriate estimates of cumulative losses are enhanced by transparent, simple and consensual methodology.
  • Any such methodology will be useless without reliable evidence of projects opened to the public.

Contact name

Stanislav Březina

Institution name

The Krkonoše Mts National Park Administration


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