The basic reason why the European Union exists is to support mutually beneficial co-operation between states and to break down unnecessary political, national and psychological barriers. The European states were once divided by political borders but this fact did not affect the nature too much.
The Natura 2000 system of European protected areas was established on the basis of Europe-wide protection of these natural phenomena, which the individual states have in common or which are important in a Europe-wide context. This idea developed gradually and has crystalised into two branches of Europe-wide protection.
The protection of birds is built on the “Birds Directive” EEC No. 79/409. This document, which all EU members must respect, ensures that European protected bird species, their important habitats and nesting sites are protected all across the continent. The protection regime sets out a ban on killing, catching, damaging nests and eggs. Individuals of protected bird species must not be disturbed or held in captivity. In the Czech Republic 39 Bird Areas have been chosen and authorised to protect these bird species and another 2 are being prepared.
The Podyjí Bird Area has been declared along the middle reaches of the Dyje river and this Bird Area includes the whole of Podyjí NP as well as further localities on its eastern edge. The subjects of the protection are the Syrian Woodpecker and the Barred Warbler. Other Europe-wide protected bird species which occur here include the Black Woodpecker, Middle-spotted Woodpecker, Grey-headed Woodpecker, Kingfisher, Tengmalm’s Owl, Eagle Owl etc. but the quantitative and qualitative parameters of their occurrence have not been met here to ensure their protection.
The next nearest bird area to Podyjí NP is the Jaroslavické rybníky (Jaroslavice Fishponds) which lies around 25 km east of Podyjí NP and which was established to protect the Night Heron.
Protection of natural localities, animals and plants is covered in the second branch of Natura 2000. Legal protection was included in the “Directive on the Protection of Natural Localities, Wild Plants and Wild Animals” EC No. 92/43. In the supplements of this directive we can find a list of natural and semi-natural locality types of European significance and a list of plant and animal species of European importance. The general aim of the protection is to ensure favourable conditions for the Natura 2000 biotopes and for the Natura 2000 plants and animals, and not to prevent all economic usage of the territory. In some cases (such as semi-natural biotopes and the plants and animals which are bound to them), these natural phenomena are dependent on the commercial and/or agricultural usage of the territory. Therefore the European Union does not set out the exact conditions of the protection of localities, plants and animals in individual European states, but the EU thoroughly monitors the results of the protection.
In the case of Podyjí NP, almost all of its territory is proposed as a Site of European Importance, due to the occurrence of localities of European Importance (e.g. alluvial alder stands, thermophilous oakwoods, pinewoods on the rocks etc.), plants (e.g. Great Pasque Flower, Lady’s Slipper etc.) and animals (e.g. Barbastelle Bat, Greater Mouse-eared Bat, Common Spadefoot, Dice Snake, Bullhead, Large Copper Butterfly, Jersey Tiger Moth, Stag Beetle, Great Capricorn Beetle etc.)
The protection of localities and species does not include all localities where they occur, but only those which are most important for the future of the species. Podyjí is a region with a large number of natural localities and species. The demands of these individual phenomena are often very different, or even contradictory, and therefore it is necessary to plan their protection very carefully.