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Project LaPlaNt aims at improving public as well as expert stakeholders’ awareness of DSC_0142-2 hydrological and environmental aspects of farmland as well as the potential for increasing its ecosystem services in diverse modes of its use in relation to the dynamics of natural factors. By means of educational and popularising tools, roles of different landscape components will be explained based on their impact on hydrologic cycle, water quality and quantity, soil erosion, floods, droughts, and related ecosystem reactions from the perspective of water and nutrient exchange as well as biodiversity.

Through workshops and websites and participation both of the project’s proposers and outside experts, a process of deeper understanding among stakeholders performing diverse landscape activities will be initiated. In this way, the project aims at optimum balancing of interests of citizens (farmers, land owners, students), public administration and river basin management, regarding the roles of water and soil within the landscape and taking into account different scenarios both of land use within the river basins and weather changes in relation to different land uses, such as protection of biologically valuable sites, agriculture, ecosystem services or urban use. On one hand, the project will focus on explaining the different roles performed by various landscape components that have not been sufficiently perceived so far, and on demonstrating the need for different management policies. On the other hand, it will emphasise an integrated approach from the perspective of protection of land, surface and groundwater, soil as well as settlements with respect to global change.

Project means and tools (seminars, workshops, information via questionnaire, websites) will enable evaluation of attitudes and suggestions of stakeholder groups concerning sustainable land management and, at the same time, outline possibilities for their stronger involvement in the processes leading towards improvement of ecosystem services and landscape biodiversity in the Czech Republic. Collected data will be used for increasing land use planning efficiency, e. g. in proposing Comprehensive Land Use Planning (KPÚ) adjustments, Territorial Systems of Ecological Stability (ÚSES) or GAEC systems, or for more efficient implementing of the Nitrates Directive Action Programmes, water resources security, etc. As a result, this will help the Czech Republic achieve the binding goals determined in the European Commission strategic documents, such as Water Framework Directive, Groundwater Directive, Soil Framework Directive (being proposed), GSBI (Global Soil Biodiversity Initiative) or the so-called EU Biodiversity Strategy to 2020.

The specific goal will be achieved by a set of project outputs focusing both on potential users such as public administration bodies and actors engaged in local and regional development of the Czech countryside, and on national as well as international expert groups. The development of rural areas depends on social cohesion level, building of social networks within the area based on the bottom up principle as well as the quality and structure of human resources. The project aims at identifying main problems and possibilities of promoting natural resource protection on agricultural land based on a set

of evaluations of individual data sources or findings. Based on an assessment of efficiency in expending the subsidies from the EU Common Agricultural Policy funds both in the past and at present, the project will propose methods for more efficient use of funds in natural resource protection involving socio-economic aspects and promotion of agricultural and rural development, and thus strengthen the position of Czech countryside both on the national and international level.

The project LaPlaNt is implemented with the support of the CZ02 Environment Programme of the EEA funding scheme.