Assessing the impact of the Gothenburg protocol in the Czech Republic



Objectives of the project


Historically, the Czech Republic has been exposed to the highest sulphur and nitrogen deposition in Europe, followed by heavy soil and water acidification, particularly in mountain regions. The sulphur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen oxides (NOx) emission reduction in the Czech Republic was significantly affected by adoption of directives under the Convention on Long Range Transboundary Air Pollution (UNECE CLRTAP). The latest is the Protocol to Abate Acidification, Eutrophication and Ground-level Ozone of 1999 (Gothenburg Protocol).

Czech Republic has made a commitment to reduce sulphur, NOx, and NH3 emissions by 2010 to the level, which will not have long-term acidification and eutrophication effects on endangered and previously affected forest and aquatic ecosystems. Acidified forested soils are the main concern as they represent the predominant cause of forest dieback observed in the country from 1960 up to the present. Surface waters were also significantly acidified, mainly in mountain regions. Target year of Gothenburg Protocol is 2010 and during 2007-2011 existing effects of emission reduction on soils and waters will be evaluated within this project:


  1. Long-term monitoring (decades) of atmospheric deposition, soil and water chemistry and forest health in small forested catchments will be used to evaluate benefits form emission reduction.  Ecological status of these ecosystems will be predicted using dynamic biogeochemical models considering various future (by 2050) emission development scenarios and forestry management practices.
  2. Further, surface water chemistry mapping in the Czech Republic will be conducted and compared with results obtained during 1980th and 1990th, when the acidification culminated. Also, critical loads of sulphur and nitrogen will be calculated for the Czech Republic as well as their excedance by current and future proposed atmospheric deposition. Based on these calculations, a scenario for further emissions reduction (in a new protocol) will be estimated. The optimum ratio between the ecological profit and the lowest possible economic loss of newly proposed measures will be also calculated.
  3. Nitrogen dynamic will be studied in the mountain lake-catchment ecosystem in the Šumava Mountain affected for decades by the high atmospheric deposition. The role of different ecosystem compartments (soil, vegetation, lake water and sediment) will be evaluated.
The project exactly meets specifications by EEA/Norwegian Financial Mechanism Common Priority 2 and Specific Focuses 2.1 and 2.2. The academic part of the project will be a follow-up to the extensive monitoring.