Geografie 2013, 118, 309-333

Assessment of spatial and temporal changes of ecological status of streams in Czechia: a geographical approach

Jakub Langhammer, Milada Matoušková, Zdeněk Kliment

Charles University in Prague, Faculty of Science, Department of Physical Geography and Geoecology, Albertov 6, 128 43 Praha 2, Czechia

Received September 2012
Accepted September 2013

This paper presents results obtained through research on the changes in the ecological status of streams in Czechia and discusses the potential of a geographical approach to this type of research. The research addresses the key aspects of the ecological status of streams: changes in the quality of surface water, erosion and the hydromorphological condition of streams in various environments and at different spatial scales. The methodological aspects of the research are discussed in relation to the requirements and standards stemming from the application of the EU Water Framework Directive. The results show that changes in the ecological status of streams are complex in their character and spatial impact. Intensive long-term changes of streams and their pollution levels appear in heavily populated areas with industrial activity and in agricultural areas with small streams. Analyses of case studies indicate an increase in the spatial differentiation of changes in the ecological status of streams. The changes in the ecological status of streams are determined by the intensity of anthropogenic pressure, spatial distribution of the principal factors, connectivity of the systems and physiographic properties of landscape. The findings from studies conducted at different spatial scales and in varying geographical conditions point to the necessity of a typological and spatially diversified approach to the interpretation of changes in the ecological status of streams and in the formulation of proposals for their improvement and sustainability.


The research presented in this paper was conducted with the support of Research Plan MSM 0021620831, “Geographic Systems and Risk Processes in the context of global changes and European integration”, PRVOUK 43 “Geography”, GAČR P209/12/0997 “The impact of disturbance on the dynamics of fluvial processes in mountain landscapes” and GAČR 13-32133S “Headwaters retention potential with respect to hydrological extremes”.


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