Department of environmental geography
Brno Branch of Institute of Geonics was founded in 1993 as the results of transformation of Geographical department of Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences. It was established as spatially separated Department of Environmental Geography of Academy Sciences CZ. The research activities were spatially focused especially to eastern part to the Czech Republic – to Moravian regions. The main seat of department is localised in the quite locality of Brno urban district Cerna Pole. The other buildings of the department are localised in Brno-Jundrov and in Blansko–Techov.
Library in Brno
Main research issues
The research activities are connected with the main research program of the Department of Environmental Geography with the title Environment and landscape in the urban and rural regions under influence of European integration processes. The program studies the interactions between natural and social processes in the landscape by means of the fields’ researches and other methods of the regional geography. The special attention is paid on the empirical research, which is very important in the periods of the dynamic changes. The generalisation of the knowledge, which is based on the information from empirical researches, is used by geo-informatics interpretation of the results. The main research program is divided into three sub-programmes, which is implemented by means of the research activities of the concrete international and national grant projects, international bilateral and multilateral scientific cooperation and expert studies.
- Environment in the urban regions of the different types
The research is focused on getting knowledge and information about the environment in urban regions of the different types (e.g. environmental impacts of economic transition and restructuralisation in the Ostrava region; geography of the small towns and their role in the settlement system; social and spatial impacts of demographic changes connected with the second demographic transition in the large cities in Central Europe).
- Environment in the rural, especially marginal and peripheral regions
The research activities are focused on getting knowledge and information about environment in the rural, especially marginal regions (e.g. sustainable development of the rural regions a modifications of the rural landscapes; euro-regions, transboundary cooperation as tool for improvement of environment).
- Environmental hazards and their impacts
The attention of the research is especially paid to the issue of the environmental hazards in the landscape and their ecological and geo-ecological impacts (geography of the natural hazards – floods, landslides) and to environmental impacts of creation and operation of the selected large investments (e.g. different types of the power plants, projects of the transport infrastructure).
Important scientific results
- Geomorphology of the middle course of the Svratka River valley – Quaternary
evolution and environmental aspects
The subject-matter was elaborated by means of the Czech Science Foundation grant project No. 205/06/1024 in 2006–2008, focused on the recognition of the major geomorphological characteristics of the middle course of the Svratka River valley. New knowledge on basic features of the valley topography, its fluvial and cryogennic landforms and evolution were obtained. The onset of the middle course of the Svratka River valley development is assumed to be set at the turn of the Pliocene and Quaternary and was epigenetic. The Svratka River both created the new gap sections and used the old course sections with the most likely pre-Miocene topography (the Obora locality) in the gap part with the Brněnská přehrada reservoir. At the turn of the Pliocene and Quaternary and during the Lower and Middle Pleistocene the morphostratigraphic levels (relative elevations up to 30 m, 31–40 m and 60–75 m) originated there which could be correlated with middle and upper river terraces. Significant tectonic movements have taken part in the Svratka River valley evolution. The occurrence of permafrost was evidenced in the Žabovřeská kotlina Basin by means of three generations of pseudomorphoses after ice-wedges. The middle course of the Svratka River valley in the north-western part of the Brno region has features of both the old pre-Miocene topography and the Quaternary topography of gap valley sections with cryogennic modellation and high dynamics of processes. Regional landuse and its temporal changes based on interpretation of historical maps were processed, indicating in the study area a strong relief anthropogenization. Gained information are available both in the geoscience disciplines and in the landscape management.
- Socio-spatial consequences of demographic change in East Central European Cities:
Potentials and limits of an exchange of experiences from western Europe and eastern
The already finished project (2006-2009) analysed the different phenomenon on the territory of inner cities in the four cities in Poland and in the Czech Republic. To analyze features in inner parts of the Czech and Polish big cities of the 2nd order and to express the opinion about their next development was the aim of the finished international project. Brno, Ostrava, Łódż and Gdańsk were the case study cities. Experts from Czech, Polish, British institutions took part in the research under the leadership of Helmholtz-Zentrum für Umweltforschung Leipzig. The project stated the deepening social differentiation of inner cities. Higher dynamics of development was found in former industrial city parts. Due to their attractive position, we can meet manifestations of gentrification there. From the viewpoint of physical structure, the big cities under study are rather post-industrial then post-socialist. More likely the way of thinking of inhabitants could be labelled as post-socialist. Much more inhabitants live in big cities than they are officially registered there. But these people use the infrastructure and impacted the social structure of big cities as well. That is why it is necessary to pay much bigger attention to the qualitative research. Some joint publications are under preparation besides of many individual publications. The main result will be published by Ashgate publishing house at the start of 2011. The Institute of Geonics has edited a monograph within the series Studia Geographica.
- Analysis and modelling of spatial relationships dynamics of ecotons in GIS
Standard projects of the Czech Science Foundation - GA205/07/0821 – „Analysis and modelling of spatial relationships dynamics of ecotons in GIS“ solved by Department of the Environmental geography (Institute of Geonics, Academy of Sciences) with Department of Geography at the Faculty of Science, Palacký University in Olomouc, in years 2007-2009. Department of the Environmental geography focused above all field works, mapping by using phytocoenological (geobiocoenological) methods and classification of the ecotons in the model area of the Trkmanka drainage river. At the very beginning an extensive literary research was carried out as to the physico-geographical and socio-economic characteristics of the study area, the historical development of the region, and the issues relating to the landscape structure and its development. Key data for the analysis of the landscape utilisation and landscape structure were obtained by applying cartographic methods. In total seven reconstructed maps, from the 18th century to date, were used. All these reconstructed maps were created by vectorisation of historical maps using the same key to all symbols. Two-dimensional and linear elements were mapped. Transects for the field research were installed at the temporally most stable forest/forest-free vegetation interfaces. A series of vegetation images was used to study the interfaces. Additional research was carried out on animals, namely on a group of molluscs which are good bioindicators due to their limited mobility.
Important solved projects
Department of Environmental Geography creates the expert studies – for example in 2010 bio-monitoring in the areas with uranium mines, monitoring of impacts connected with Reynoutria located in the catchments area of Morávka river, physic-geographical problems in landscape protected areas (e.g., CHKO Jeseniky mountains), questionnaire surveys among local population (e.g. focused on renewable sources of energy – wind power plants) etc.
Research activities connected with the bilateral project between Slovak and Czech Academy of Sciences with the title Geographical research of the regional structures and time-spatial modification (period 2009–2011). The research is focused on the improvement of the geographical methods dealing with comparison of the changes between regional structures in the Czech Republic and in the Slovakia.
The research activities connected with the international project „The Development of Population and Housing in Czech and Austrian City Regions: A Comparative Study of Prague, Vienna, Brno, Graz, Linz and Pilsen“. The research activities are realised in cooperation with Geographical Department at University of Vienna (Universität Wien) – program Aktion on support of Academic Cooperation and Mobility between Czech Republic and Austria (period 2009-2010).
The research activities connected with scientific cooperation between Czech Academy of Sciences and Russia Academy of Sciences – cooperation with Geographical Institute of Russia academy of Sciences in Moscow with the title Geographical evaluation of the selected processes of the regional development in the post-socialistic countries (period 2009-2011). The other project of the bilateral cooperation with the title Development of regional structures and environmental quality in Romania and the Czech Republic after accession to the European Union is realised in cooperation with Institute of Geography of the Romanian Academy of Sciences in Bucharest (period 2009-2011).