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DocuRisk Research Project

Documentary data sources for research of social perception and adaptation strategies to selected historic natural hazards in the Czech Republic is a postdoctoral project funded by Czech Grant Agency under the registration number 13-02080P for years 2013-2015 and held at the Landscape Synthesis Research Unit - Department of Geography, UJEP. This website presents the main aims of the project and recent advances of our research including up-to-date outcomes of the project.


Local-based adaptation strategies are significant tool for mitigation of natural hazards impacts, whilst being dependent on specifics of natural environment and on social perception of natural hazards. In last centuries, the intensive landscape changes were not always reflected by changes in the mentioned adaptation strategies. The project focuses on evaluation of significance of documentary data in research of selected historical natural hazards with respect to the formation of local-based adaptation strategies in the period of 1650-1950 in Czechia. We will prepare a database of sources about natural hazards in the study area of lower Elbe River in Czechia. The database will be critically analysed in respect of their authenticity, credibility, representativeness and meaning, and will be compared with examples from Central Europe. The attention will be devoted to (a) social perception of natural hazard impacts, (b) the social construction of reports, (c) community tools for natural hazard mitigation and (d) ways, in which local-based adaptation strategies are formed and represented.


Pavel Raska (head of the team): deals with environmental history and natural risk assessment.

Vilem Zabransky: historian dealing with Early Modern Age migration with special emphasis on urban sites.

Cooperating students: Jakub Dubisar, Antonin Kadlec, Katerina Mikulaskova, Simona Reznickova, past students - Alena Hrbacova, Tomas Strnad.


- In 2015, the project results have been presented at the Europan Society for Environmental History conference in Versailles and at the International Conference of Historical Geographers in London.

- In 2014, the project results have been presented at the World Conference of Environmental History Organization in Guimaraes, Portugal, and at the Congress of International Association of Engineering Geology.

- The analysis of regional newspaper titles in our model area (Usti nad Labem, N Czechia) resulted in retrospective of landslides and rockfalls in the region for the latter part of the 19th Century.

- The search in the Cadastre of Maria Theresa (1757) has been done, resulting in more than 5000 records indicating natural hazards or transformation of natural environment.

- We are performing the search in photoarchive of the Museum of Usti nad Labem aiming at depictions of natural hazards, their impacts and recovery.

- We have done the in-depth search in 20 Czech medieval chronicles, of which 14 included the data about natural hazards (total 94 records, mostly on floods and earthquakes).

- In the first step, we are summarizing all documentary data types that are available in the Czech Republic in order to perform a critical assessment of their historiographic content and to create a typology of data sources.

- The research project has been launched in February 2013.

Recent papers

BRAZDIL, R., RASKA, P., TRNKA, M., ZAHRADNICEK, P., VALASEK, H., DOBROVOLNY, P., REZNICOVA, L., TREML, P., STACHON, Z. (in review): The disastrous drought of 1947 in the Czech Lands: its course, trigger-factors, impacts and consequences. Climatic Research.

RASKA, P., ZABRANSKY, V., BRAZDIL, R., LAMKOVA, J. (2016): The late Little Ice Age landslide calamity in North Bohemia: Triggers, impacts and post-landslide development reconstructed from documentary data (case study of the Kozi vrch Hill landslide). Geomorphology 255: 95-107.

RASKA, P., BRAZDIL, R.(2015): Participatory responses to historical flash floods and their relevance for current risk reduction: a view from a post-communist country. Area 47(2): 166-178

RASKA, P., KLIMES, J., DUBISAR, J. (2015): Using local archive sources to reconstruct historical landslide occurrence in selected urban regions of the Czech Republic: examples from regions with different historical development. Land Degradation and Development 26: 142-157

RASKA, P., ZABRANSKY, V., DUBISAR, J.(2015): Using documentary data to reconstruct social responses and local-based adaptation strategies to landslide and flood hazards in N Czechia. Engineering Geology for Society and Territory - Volume 8, Springer Verlag, Berlin-Heidelberg, pp. 443-446.

RASKA, P., EMMER, A.(2014): The 1916 catastrophic flood following the Bila Desna dam failure: The role of historical data sources in the reconstruction of its geomorphologic and landscape effects. Geomorphology 226: 135-147.

RASKA, P., ZABRANSKY, V., DUBISAR, J., KADLEC, T., HRBACOVA, A., KADLEC, A. (2014): Documentary proxies and interdisciplinary research on historic geomorphologic hazards: a discussion of the current state from a central European perspective. Natural Hazards 70(1): 705-732 DOI: 10.1007/s11069-013-0839-z

RASKA, P. (2013): Political regulations and social perception of natural risks: "risk society", the Czech experience and the European context. AUC Geographica 48(2): 61-74.

RASKA, P., ZABRANSKY, V. HARTVICH, F. (2013): Combining documentary data and field survey to reconstruct historical landslide by the Kozi Vrch hill near the Usti nad Labem city (N Czech Republic). Zpravy o geologickych vyzkumech 46: 154-158. In Czech with English abstract.

RASKA, P., DUBISAR, J. (2011): Historic landslides in the Ceske stredohori Mts. in regional newspapers published in Usti nad Labem (1856-1902). Zpravy o geologickych vyzkumech 44: 79-82. In Czech with English abstract.

Students projects

REZNICKOVA, S. (in progress): Social reflection of selected natural disasters in N Czechia in the 2nd half of the 19th Century. Diploma Thesis, UJEP, Usti nad Labem.

MIKULASKOVA, K. (in progress): Selected historical natural hazards in Czech land in the period 1918-1938 and their political reflection. Bachelors Thesis, UJEP, Usti nad Labem.

HRBACOVA, A. (2012): Assessment of natural hazards in selected historical regions of South-west Bohemia based on the data of Cadastre of Maria Theresa (1757). Diploma Thesis, UJEP, Usti nad Labem. In Czech.

STRNAD, T. (2012): Assessment of natural hazards in selected historical regions of North-east Bohemia based on the data of Cadastre of Maria Theresa (1757). Diploma Thesis, UJEP, Usti nad Labem. In Czech.

DUBISAR, J. (2015): Retrospective analyses of natural hazards in the Usti nad Labem Region based on German regional newspapers from the 2nd half of the 19th Century. Diploma Thesis, UJEP, Usti nad Labem. In Czech.