Krkonoše and Karkonosze Transboundary parks

Krkonoše Mountains in Czech Republic © Radek Drahny

Joint protection of the tundra island in the heart of Europe

The Krkonoše Mountains are situated in the part of Central Europe which formed the southern border of the large Scandinavian glacier some 20.000 years ago, during the last ice age. Combined with geomorphology which means that there are no mountainous areas between the mountain range and the Baltic Sea it caused the unique situation in geomorphology, climate, flora and fauna – due to this fact Central Europe has several hundreds of hectares of the real tundra far south of the North Polar Circle. The Krkonoše/Karkonosze tundra is of a special type, combining phenomena of Arctic tundra and alpine tundra of much higher mountains like Alps.

Krkonoše Mountains in Czech Republic © Radek Drahny

The Krkonoše/Karkonosze arcto-alpine tundra was the main reason, why there were National Parks established in the middle of the 20th century (1959 in Poland, 1963 in Czechoslovakia) and species richness initiated the first (finally not adopted) ideas of the National Park already in the beginning of the 20th Century within the Austrian-Hungarian Parliament. There are two other main biotopes to protect – large boreal forests, especially mountain spruce forests of several types, and (especially on the Czech side) species-rich mountain meadows.

Both National Parks cooperate for decades, but frankly it was quite difficult task during the communist times, because of the strict border-regime.

The real cooperation started in 1990, systematically backed after 2000. In 2004 the Parks have been certified within EUROPARC Transboundary Parks Programme as Transboundary Parks.

We coordinate the preparation and implementation of our Management Plans, zoning schemes, nature values management, et cetera. More than 20 joint EU-funded projects have been realized within the last ten years. We operate joint ranger service patrols in the border area (which is covered by the core zone of both National Parks), prepare joint information and educational staff (programme schemes, brochures, leaflets, books), organize language courses for employees and so on.

Text by Jakub Kašpar, Krkonoše National Park

Krkonoše Mountains in Czech Republic © Radek Drahny