WWF-CEE aims to protect one of Europe's most unspoiled environments - the so-called "Green Heart of Europe". From the Danube River to the Carpathian Mountains, it includes many of the continent's greatest natural treasures.
In pursuit of this goal, WWF's initial project activities in the Czech Republic were devoted to the Carpathians, focusing on ensuring wildlife-friendly transportation networks.
WWF-CEE also partners with businesses and philanthropists in the Czech Republic to build strategic partnerships that conserve species, protect nature, safeguard the climate and ensure more sustainable production and consumption.
Brimming with natural beauty, the Czech Republic's flora and fauna is of special scientific and nature conservation importance. The country is home to a considerable proportion of those species that are protected at European level. Thanks to historical development and natural conditions, the Czech Republic has a structurally rich landscape, which is, however, increasingly influenced by fragmentation, housing development, intensive economic use and unification.
- The Czech Republic hosts an estimated 55,480 species of animals and plants. This number represents 35% of the total species described for Europe and could represent more than 3% of the species in the world1. But the state of animal and plant species is related to the state of landscape - the number of species assessed as endangered is growing.
- The large-scale network of protected areas consists of 4 national parks and 26 landscape protected areas. In total they represent about 16% of the surface of the Czech Republic. There is also an extensive network – more than 2,600 – of small-scale protected areas. Worldwide, it is one of the highest numbers per capita.
- The Natura 2000 network, which partly overlaps with national categories of protected areas, consists of 41 Special Protection Areas and 1,112 Special Areas of Conservation, representing about 14% of the area of the Czech Republic2. However, without proper management such a high number of protected areas might be of low effectivity in the end.
- At 34% woodland coverage, the Czech Republic is one of the most forested nations in Europe3. Unfortunately, a large part of the forests is in long-term poor health. This is mainly related to their unsuitable species and age composition, bark beetle calamity and overpopulated ungulate game which make natural regeneration impossible.
- SaveGREEN - Safeguarding the Functionality of Transnationally Important Ecological Corridors in the Danube Basin: The carving up of our remaining wilderness and the loss of eco-corridors can have devastating effects on the wildlife and habitats of Central and Eastern Europe. Linear transport infrastructure, urban development, intensive agricultural, forestry, and water management practices can interrupt ecological corridors, cause traffic-deaths, and lower the reproductive success of key species. WWF-CEE is working on a project to address this vital issue as lead partner in the project SaveGREEN. Together with 12 other project partners, WWF-CEE will foster cross-sectoral and transnational cooperation and build a comprehensive know-how towards the development of concrete solutions aimed at improving, restoring, and preserving the functionality of key ecological corridors in the Carpathians. The project covers 8 pilot areas in Austria, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Ukraine, Romania, and Bulgaria. Learn more about SaveGREEN here.
- Good for You, Good for Nature: Since July 2021, WWF has established its first of its kind corporate partnership in the country. The retailer Tesco and WWF joined forces to raise awareness of sustainable eating habits to improve health and mitigate the environmental impact of our food. The long-term partnership’s objective is to support a shift to affordable and sustainable everyday shopping choices in the Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovakia. The Tesco-WWF Partnership in the Central European region will focus on three key areas: raising awareness amongst Tesco colleagues of the role they can play to reduce the impact of corporate operations on the environment and nature; stimulating customer interest in, and awareness of sustainable food choices that they can make every day; and working together with suppliers and partners to raise awareness of best practice sustainable production and ensure affordable choices for shoppers. Learn more about the partnership here.
- Nature Positive – The Future Of Business: In September 2020, WWF International and the VELUX Group launched one of the most ambitious corporate actions for climate and nature actions, committing the global manufacturer of roof windows to take responsibility for its past and future carbon emissions to become Lifetime Carbon Neutral. As an essential extension of the global partnership WWF-CEE, the Science Based Target initiative (SBTi) and the VELUX Group have joined forces to share WWF experiences with setting science-based targets and taking action for a sustainable future. Together they are organizing series of virtual round tables in the region called “Nature Positive – The Future Of Business”. The purpose of the online events is to outline the business case for taking action for the climate and environment; explain the role that science-based targets can play in guiding action; and use the VELUX example to demonstrate how science-based targets are being used to transform the business and mindset of a major corporation. Learn more about the partnership here.
- Joint Efforts for Safe and Wildlife-friendly Transportation Networks in the Carpathians, otherwise known as TRANSGREEN. The project was led by WWF Central and Eastern Europe, with partners in Czech Republic, Romania, Austria, Hungary, Slovakia, and Ukraine. Joint methodologies were developed for monitoring collisions and road-kills, and four in-depth analyses and Catalogues of Measures have been produced for the four pilot areas. The final outcome is a comprehensive package of materials - called Guidelines for Wildlife and Traffic in the Carpathians – which describes and recommends integrated transport infrastructure planning, construction, management and monitoring that take into account biodiversity conservation and minimise landscape fragmentation. These guidelines will be pushed forward as unified guidelines or policies in all involved Carpathian countries as part of the implementation of the Carpathian Convention. The project won the Cross-border cooperation and Networking Award. Learn more about the project here.
At the moment, in the Czech Republic, the organization is represented by the expert Lenka Fryčová, Czech Programme Manager, WWF-CEE, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lenka Fryčová joined WWF-CEE in June 2021. She is an expert in nature and landscape conservation financing. Before moving to the non-governmental sector, Lenka worked at the Czech Ministry of Environment until 2008 as a Deputy-Director of the Financial Tools in Nature Conservation and Landscape Protection Department. Lenka has in-depth expertise in project and proposal assessment and evaluation, designing and evaluation of financial instruments in nature conservation and landscape protection, nature conservation projects management and coordination, lecturing and presentations. Her educational background covers international trade, international relations, and political science, graduating from the University of Economics and Business in Prague and Charles University in Prague.
Source of information:
- IUCN, Red List: Czech Republic’s biodiversity at risk
- NCA CR. Nature Protection Network and NATURA 2000 in the Czech Republic. Available online: http://www.ochranaprirody.cz/en/ (accessed on 2 December 2019)
- The World Bank, Forest area - Czech Republic