EUROPEAN COUNTRYSIDE is defined as an international on-line scientific journal in the branch of rural development. It publishes first of all theoretical and methodological articles, dealing with multi-functional development of countryside, articles related to regional aspects of rural development and with problems of individual branches connected with the countryside. EUROPEAN COUNTRYSIDE is a journal supporting European processes of integration, collaboration of experts from European countries and the idea of Europe of Regions. EUROPEAN COUNTRYSIDE deals with problems of European countryside - although general and/or theoretical problems of rural research from other continents are welcome. Widening of the European Community and common agricultural policy put a joint future ahead of the rural development in whole Europe. Our journal welcomes articles from different disciplines dealing with the countryside having in mine conceptions of sustainability and locality: ecology of rural landscape, rural sociology, demographic development of rural regions, human resources, gender, multifunctional development of countryside, role of agriculture and other branches, rural and agro-tourism, geography of rural micro-regions, problems of rural borderland, rural settlement, small towns as rural centres, rural planning and architecture and other aspects of rural development. The publishing in EUROPEAN COUNTRYSIDE is open for all experts from universities, scientific institutions and other workplaces of investigation. The authors will pay symbolic amount for the publication of their papers. We go out from the presupposition that a majority of results arise within different grants projects where publication costs are an integral part of the budget. Other expenses connected with publishing of EUROPEAN COUNTRYSIDE are covered by the MUAF Faculty of Agronomy. On the other side, the papers published in EUROPEAN COUNTRYSIDE will be free accessible to all potential readers through the net. By such a way we hope in better quotation of individual papers and increasing value of the papers and their authors. Additionally, professional way of publishing helps to complete this aim.
Embedding of rural businesses in the South Moravian region
The aim of the paper is to present original findings obtained from the analysis of the SMEs (Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises) embedded in the South Moravia Region (Czech Republic). Data collected from the survey during 2010 was analyzed in the context of the DERREG project and the results were set with respect to globalization tendencies. The first part of the Business network questionnaire for the Czech case study took place during the spring. Forty three Small and Medium-Sized firms out of 550 approached replied to the email questionnaire. The responses provided us with a valuable insight in to how SMEs located in various territorial settings are able to develop and maintain a certain structure to their business network. In the second stage of activities, structured interviews were conducted during the summer of 2010 with follow-up questions from the questionnaire as well as the completion of an "Actor map". The analysis allowed the interviewee to classify the firms according to the dominant function of their networks. Results found that the majority of companies were not affected significantly by the economic crisis. The worst years for them were 2008 and 2009 where profits decreased in all areas of activity. Small businesses agreed that in a time of crisis it is much harder to succeed in the market against supermarkets and wholesalers, who can afford to lower the prices. A positive side of the crisis can be the fact that much more companies try to break into foreign markets where they get offered better prices for some commodities. The majority of respondents agreed that the economic crisis is retreating and they look optimistically into the future.
The paper describes the development of Mendel University in Brno and its Faculty of AgriSciences during last 100 years. It shows the present state of the University and Faculty, including facilities used for educational, scientific and other activities. The journal European Countryside owned by the University has been established 10 years ago. It is a highly cited per review periodical in the field of rural development. This special number gave the opportunity to the members of the Advisory Board to co-celebrate the anniversary by means of their own topic related scientific article.
The paper analyses the problem of a rural region in the peripheral position. Bojkovice micro-region on the Czech (Moravian)-Slovak border has been chosen as a case study. Economic transformation of productive and non-productive branches, demographic development (depopulation and aging) and networking in the area were characterized by using statistical data and field research. Development, understood as improvement in quality of life and not in sense of quantitative growth, is highlighted with regard to the changing perception of the countryside. The question remains: how to use peripherality for prosperity? Peripheral countryside is known as “the right countryside” in comparison to suburbanized and globalized countryside in core regions. Based on the research, production embedded in local sources and traditions, ecological agriculture using the protection of landscape and soft tourism are proposed as solutions. Networking like the association of municipalities, LEADER local action group or White Carpathian Euroregion could be the instruments of micro-regional collaboration. The human and social factors seem to be more important than objective conditions. Long-term population stability is the main advantage. However, a lower level of formal education could be a problem. The character of social capital is considered as a decisive circumstance - whether it is passive social capital resistant to outer innovations or active social capital open for now ideas.
The paper is aimed at an attempt to define a smart village in the Czech conditions. It argues that the principles of smart villages are very similar to the concept of sustainability. The analysis deals with preventing rural exclusion, promoting digital technologies for the management of the rural infrastructure, teleworking in rural areas and using ICT for participation and governance. This approach is documented in the case of the South-Moravian Region. It was concluded that it was not so much coverage or accessibility of digital technology that was the main barrier of more intensive use of the smart village concept but rather the lower qualification level and conservatism of rural population is. It is suggested that more attention should be paid to increasing the digital literacy of rural people.
The landfill of municipal solid waste is a waste management equipment that can represent the risks to the environment because it serves a waste disposal, and thus there is a risk of potential leakage of undesirable substances into the surrounding (mainly aquaeous) environment. This risk is minimized when a precise construction and subsequent operation and closure of landfills are abided. And thus a negative impact on the surrounding components of the environment is eliminated. The landfill represents a considerable source of funds for the operating community. The acquired funds can then be used for the reconstruction of public municipal buildings, municipal greenery revitalization, maintainance of public utilities, or improvement of public amenities and as a support for voluntary associations. MWS Petrůvky is an example of such a waste disposal facility, which was founded in 1994 and whose operation is a significant income used to support rural development.
The paper connects culture, tourism and rural development. It tries to make an overview of various forms of cultural tourism in Czechia. Attractions of cultural tourism are identified and ranked according to their cognitive function. Their list includes cultural heritage in spheres of archaeological sites, architecture, arts, folklore, pilgrimages, technical works, cultural events or protected landscape areas. The culture of wine in Southern Moravia has been chosen as an example. Its analysis was elaborated using the Importance/Performance Analysis. Czechia has great potential for the cultural tourism development in rural areas but it seems to demand a great deal of work when one needs to be constantly reconciling the changing interests of tourists with the potential of the regions. One of the important goals is to attract tourists into rural areas and thus limit their concentration in the most attractive places. Rural cultural tourism seems to be a significant aspect in this respect. The part of the study is the example of the adaptation of the current situation with COVID-19 to properly support the development and cultural potential of domestic tourism in South Moravian region in relation to the economic impacts on international tourism.
The South Moravian rural borderland has been studied as an example of peripheral countryside. It is defined by municipalities the cadastral districts of which border on the state frontiers. The borderland is considerably differentiated in dependence on the natural conditions, historic development, geographical position and subjective circumstances. The period after 1990 experienced a downturn in production sectors, development of the tertiary sector, quite positive demographic evolution with a positive migration balance (with some exceptions), further intensification of nature conservation and landscape protection, increased unemployment rate and lower standard of formal education. The strengths encompass the maintained and, in many cases, strictly protected landscape, suitable settlement structures with large villages, suitable conditions for agricultural activities, development of balneology and important transition position of the central part of the borderland. The weaknesses include, in particular, the distinctly seasonal character of tourism (short summer period), below-average education, poor condition of many local roads and exposedness of the territory to erosion. Opportunities include possibilities of international cooperation, support of non-production agriculture, demand for relevant forms of tourism, support of small and medium sized businesses. Threats are understood as the outflow of young and educated people, devastation of the environment through intensive farming and reduced economic competitive advantages. Strategies may consist in the preference of economic development or in focusing on the improvement of local inhabitants’ life quality.
The paper deals with the macrostructural and microstructural landscape changes in six selected microregions in Moravia and eastern Bohemia. Changes of the landscape macrostructure were evaluated based on the statistical data from 1845, 1948, 1990 and 2013. Changes of the landscape microstructure were compared on the base of old maps, aerial images and field experiences. According to the available data the area of an arable land was the largest in 1845. Since then it has been decreasing – more in mountain areas, less in lowland ones where it was replaced by forests, grasslands and urban areas, depending on the vegetation period, physical character and vicinity of urban centres. Results show that the microstructure recorded great changes during the communist period: large expanses of fields, irrigation and drainage measures, windbreaks, non-rural buildings in the countryside. Contemporary changes are connected mostly with urbanisation of the landscape.