Just how many obstacles are there to creating a National Park? A case study from the Šumava National Park


  • Zdenka Křenová Faculty of Science, University of South Bohemia, Branišovská 31, 370 05 České Budějovice and Global Change Research Centre AS CR, Department of Biodiversity Research, Na Sádkách 7, 370 05 České Budějovice, and Institute of Environmental Studies, Faculty of Science, Charles University in Prague, Benátská 2, 128 01 Prague 2
  • Jaroslav Vrba 1Faculty of Science, University of South Bohemia, Branišovská 31, 370 05 České Budějovice




This case study reports the recent history and evaluates the socio-economic constraints on nature conservation in the Bohemian Forest, which is the largest natural wilderness area in the central European cultural landscape. This gradually occurred over the past half of century, when nature was allowed to reclaim the most valuable parts along the common Czech–German border and the national parks (NP) were established: the Bavarian Forest NP in Germany (in 1970) and the Šumava NP in the Czech Republic (1991). Unfortunately, since the very beginning of the Šumava NP, its status has been questioned, compromised or debated, and it never received clear political support. Discussions about its future have become never-ending and were only on the appropriate management of the forests, i.e. “non-intervention” management versus “necessary” bark-beetle control. The “bark beetle problem”, however, is a wildcard issue that has obscured much more complex problems. This paper is the first attempt to describe the main obstacles and offer some solutions for making the Šumava NP a successful and sustainable project.