Species conservation - Nature Conservation Agency of the Czech Republic
An important part of modern nature conservation is the conservation of plant and animal species occurring in the Czech Republic.
Act No. 114/1992 on the Conservation of Nature and Landscape distinguishes two attitudes regarding species protection: general and special protection.
General protection of species
General protection establishes protection of all plant and animal species from destruction, damage, collection, or capture which leads or might lead to endangering the existence of these species or to their degeneration, to impairment of reproduction ability of the species, to extinction of the population of the species, or to destruction of the ecosystem of which they form a part. Intentional dispersion of crossbreeds of plants or animals into the landscape shall be possible only with permission from the nature protection authorities because some species may be endangered by the effect of non-indigenous species in our country.
Birds occupy quite a special position in general protection, which results from EU legislation (Directive on the Conservation of Wild Birds 79/409/EEC). While general protection is focused on whole species populations, general bird protection relates to each individual of the wildlife species group occurring in the European Community territory. The following activities are prohibited: deliberate killing, collection or capture, deliberate damage to, or destruction of (except for specified bird species and carried out in accordance with regulations concerning hunting) their nests and eggs or removal of their nests, taking their eggs in the wild and keeping these eggs, deliberate disturbance of these birds, in particular during the period of breeding and rearing.
Special protection of species
Plant and animal species that are rare, endangered, or significant from a cultural or scientific point of view belong to the category of specially protected species, for which the protection regime is stricter.
They are further divided into three categories according to their vulnerability (vulnerable, endangered, critically endangered) and the list of species forms part of Decree No. 395/1992, appendices II and III. In contrast to general protection, the species shall be protected in all stages of development. In addition, it is forbidden to collect specially protected animals and specially protected plants, kill them deliberately, capture or utilize them for commercial purpose. Protection of habitats of specially protected species as the elementary existential condition is a significant tool of special species protection.
An exemption from the prohibitions established in special species protection can be granted in specific cases (for example in the interests of public health or public safety, air safety, prevention of serious damage). The conditions are specified in act No. 114/1992 on the Conservation of Nature and Landscape.
Species Action Plans
Species Action Plans (zachranneprogramy.cz) are prepared for specially protected plant and animal species whose existence is negatively influenced by man to a large extent. Firstly, the biological and ecological conditions of the specific species are considered as well as current dangerous conditions and the extent of its occurrence. Then, measures for creating conditions that would lead to reinforcement of the species population are suggested. To succeed, a basic condition is to provide the species with a habitat of good quality and adequate extent. It should be a place where the species can find a breeding site, nutrition, and shelter.
Implementation of the Natura 2000 network has significantly influenced the current system of species protection in the Czech Republic. Both directives establishing Natura 2000, the Birds Directive (79/409/EEC) and Habitats Directive (92/43EEC) are first of all, beside habitats protection, focused on protection of "species of European Community interest". The Directives are included in the legislation of the Czech Republic in act No. 114/1992 on the Conservation of Nature and Landscape.
The Habitats Directive, despite its title, stipulates wildlife animal and plant species in its two appendixes. Appendix II stipulates species requiring special territorial protection, which is implemented in the form of a so-called Special Area of Conservation (SAC). Appendix IV stipulates species requiring strict protection, for which reason they are to be included in the list of endangered and critically endangered species and provided with the necessary conservation requirements.
The Birds Directive includes two forms of bird protection. Firstly it is concerned with general species protection and secondly it imposes the obligation to designate Special Protection Areas (SPA) for bird species of European importance.
Species protection does not only imply prohibition and legislative limitations. Nature conservation bodies support activities to promote populations of specially protected species from various financial resources (Czech State Environmental Fund, landscape programmes of the Ministry of the Environment). Specific, practical measures aimed at protecting species as well as habitats are conducted by various subjects.
Role of the NCA
The active protection of endangered wild flora and fauna species is a necessary supplement to the conservation of valuable areas and sites. The NCA has been appointed to coordinate wildlife species protection at the national level. It monitors the distribution and occurrence of selected priority species and their changes, assesses the drivers of threat, classifies wildlife species, subspecies, or populations into Red Data Books and Red Lists according to the extinction risk, and prepares and implements species-specific conservation measures, including Species Action Plans.
The NCA is a National Scientific Authority of the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).
The NCA is a technical supervisor for preparation of expert data about Sites of European Importance and for Bird Areas management.
The NCA is a contact point and an expert body for providing compensation of damage caused by selected specially protected animals (Act No. 115/2000).