Journal of
Geography and Regional Planning

  • Abbreviation: J. Geogr. Reg. Plann.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 2070-1845
  • DOI: 10.5897/JGRP
  • Start Year: 2008
  • Published Articles: 394

Full Length Research Paper

Land use changes and environmental stress accounting (case study from northwestern part of the Czech-German borderland)

Martin Balej and JiÅ™í AndÄ›l
Department of Geography, Faculty of Science, J E Purkinje University, Ceske mladeze 8, Usti nad Labem, 40096, Czech Republic
Email: [email protected]

  •  Accepted: 17 July 2008
  •  Published: 31 July 2008



The authors assess the long-term changes in utilisation of the territory (1845 - 2005). They apply a new methodology called environmental stress accounting. They notice qualitative changes in how utilisation of the territory develops. They assess the stress-causing effects on both the natural subsystem (ecological stress) as well as on the social subsystem (social stress). The aggregate result is a methodology measuring environmental stress, as a sum of stress existing in the natural and social subsystem. The methodology can be applied in a randomly chosen territory at various time scales. It reflects the external spatial relations, i.e. relations with localities beyond the model territory, and indicates causal effects (driving forces). Driving forces directly or indirectly affect the structure and function of the landscape and at the same time the landscape can retroactively be one of the impulses for origination and modification of the given driving force. The process of mutual interaction of driving forces and the landscape is monitored in three different landscape types of the Czech-German border area: 1) “mining landscape”, 2) “intensive agriculture” and 3) “highland marginal landscape”. We analyse changes in the use of the landscape and the trend in environmental stress in four time phases that are mutually differentiated by their specific characteristics. They generally correspond to stages of change in Czech society: pre-industrial, industrial, totalitarian (final phase of the industrial period) and post-industrial period.


Key words: Environmental stress,  land use changes, driving forces, Czech-German borderland.