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Land Use Changes in Czechia 1845–2010

  • Ivan BičíkEmail author
  • Lucie Kupková
  • Leoš Jeleček
  • Jan Kabrda
  • Přemysl Štych
  • Zbyněk Janoušek
  • Jana Winklerová
Chapter
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Part of the Springer Geography book series (SPRINGERGEOGR)

Abstract

The history of land use changes on the Czech territory since the very beginning is outlined; each subchapter deals with one important historical period. The emergence of organized agriculture (Neolithic revolution) is seen as the first period when humans began to influence nature on a certain scale. For thousands of years, however, land use changes were largely limited to inhabited lowlands. The transition from wilderness towards largely agricultural landscape accelerated only during the German plantation (eleventh–fourteenth centuries) when many forests were cleared in the frontier. As a whole, however, changes were rather modest until the eighteenth century. Really important economic and social changes that fundamentally influenced land use patterns have been taking place since the eve of Industrial Revolution. In that time, agricultural society was being gradually transformed into the industrial one at the beginning of the 20th century. The second half of the nineteenth century brought general modernization; agricultural land and arable land expanded to maximum. Since the turn of nineteenth and twentieth centuries, however, reverse trends are recorded: decrease of agricultural land (due to more intensive farming) and gradual expansion of forests. Land use patterns during the twentieth century were much influenced by turbulent political events like Czechoslovak independence (1918), World War II (1939–1945), Communist coup d’état (1948), and restoration of democratic conditions (1989). The Communist legacy included outdated technology and production-oriented agriculture that could not compete on the international markets. The post-Communist period brought restitution of confiscated property (including land) and return to market-oriented conditions. In the most recent period, the accession of Czechia to European Union (2004) has also had profound effects on land use changes.

Keywords

Land use changes 1845–2010 Political and economic changes Social driving forces Political and economic transition Reforms of Czech agriculture 

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© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ivan Bičík
    • 1
    Email author
  • Lucie Kupková
    • 2
  • Leoš Jeleček
    • 1
  • Jan Kabrda
    • 1
  • Přemysl Štych
    • 1
  • Zbyněk Janoušek
    • 1
  • Jana Winklerová
    • 1
  1. 1.Faculty of Science, Department of Social Geography and Regional DevelopmentCharles University in PraguePrague 2Czech Republic
  2. 2.Faculty of Science, Department of Applied Geoinformatics and CartographyCharles University in PraguePrague 2Czech Republic

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