Open Access

The current status of orchard meadows in Central Europe: Multi-source area estimation in Saxony (Germany) and the Czech Republic


Orchard meadows are appreciated as an integrated land use of high cultural and biological value. While such meadows are typical habitats for temperate Europe, they experienced a decline in their total area during the second half of the 20th century, both in Western and Eastern Europe. In this contribution, we compare their current area and status in terms of semantics, law, public support in general, and the efficiency of public support in both Saxony and the Czech Republic. We estimated the area in Saxony on the basis of three public mapping projects. In the Czech Republic, where no recent mapping included orchard meadows as a specific land-use type, we carried out our own mapping. Hence, we mapped 124 randomly selected plots of 1 km2. To cross-reference results from both countries, we used the pan-EU project LUCAS (Land Use/Cover Area frame Survey). According to various different sources, the orchard meadows cover 0.09–0.55% of Saxony and 0.01–0.72% of the Czech Republic. Interestingly, the results of the three mapping projects conducted in Saxony vary from each other. Although orchard meadows are supported by financial incentives of the respective governments in both countries, the Saxon approach concentrating more on individual activities (sanitation of old trees, planting, grassland management), seems more focused than the single measure practised in the Czech Republic. One key to a greater public awareness of the orchard meadow problematic can lie in the promotion of a simple expression referring to this specific landscape feature in Czech, similar to the phrase common in the German language: ‘Streuobstwiese’. Our suggestion for the Czech language is: ‘luční sad’.

Publication timeframe:
4 times per year
Journal Subjects:
Business and Economics, Business Management, Industries, Environmental Management, Geosciences, Geography