Landscape Ecology

, Volume 22, Issue 7, pp 1007–1018 | Cite as

Using place names to interpret former floodplain connectivity in the Morava River, Czech Republic

  • Sandra Sweeney
  • Martin Jurek
  • Marek Bednar
Research Article


Toponyms, or place names have been used to reveal historical land-use patterns based on degree of wetness in the Morava River floodplain. Eleven patch types were plotted on three land cover types representing broad ecological niches with different moisture regimes for four time periods. The river’s simultaneous decrease in sinuosity, which underscores the loss of the landscape’s ecohydrological connectivity, was quanified. The results show that long-term human-dominated land use worked in concert with a naturally occuring seasonal flood regime. The findings strongly indicate that high human density and intensive exploitation can co-exist with a functioning floodplain. Landscape change was interpreted by using a new concept, that of the place-name patch, which can be universally applied to interpret historical land use changes in river basins. Our method is reproducible in river basins with a history of intensive human use.


Place names Place name patch Morava River floodplain River restoration 



The authors would like to express their gratitude for the thoughtful and detailed commentary provided by two anonymous reviews which helped to improve the quality of the final paper. In addition, they would like to thank Luis Sánchez Soto, who gave generously of his time, and Dusan Gavenda, who provided much appreciated technical support.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Ecology & Environmental Sciences, Faculty of Natural SciencesPalacky UniversityOlomoucCzech Republic
  2. 2.Department of Geography, Faculty of Natural SciencesPalacky UniversityOlomoucCzech Republic

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