Achievements of our group in 2016

Our former student Lída Vlková succeeded in the 6th edition of a competition of projects for environmental protection "Jihočeská ratolest" with her master thesis. She won in the category of bachelor's and master's theses. In her study, Lída focuses on restoration of extracted peatland Soumarský most in the Šumava National Park which has been seriously damaged by peat extraction. She studied establishment of two species typical for peat bogs - bog cranberry (Vaccinium oxycoccos) and bog-rosemary (Andromeda polifolia). Congratulations Lída!

In the same competition but in different category, NGO Calla and our group as its partner succeeded with the project on low-cost maintaining open sandy habitats. This novel project does not hesitate to engage public in the nature conservation. It utilizes geocaching not only to show beautiful and interesting places to people but also to protect valuable sites.

Hot news - flowering strips in city park Stromovka

Mud on our boots has not dried yet - so hot this news is. We have established three flowering strips in the city park Stomovka in collaboration with the Municipality of České Budějovice. We prepared seed mixtures of native grassland species appropriate to moisture and soil conditions in the park. The seed mixtures were supplied by the German company Rieger-Hofmann GmbH (which cultivates regional seed mixtures according to the system of individual regions in Germany, outreaching to the Czech Republic). Since the amount of seeds per square meter was very small, it was necessary to add a crushed corn which helps to sow the plots evenly but does not affect germination of the seeds. We are looking forward the result of our effort! In the next season, the flowering aspect will not probably be fully developed. However, in the summer of 2018, we will hopefully enjoy flowering blossoms and fliting insects.

 

10th European Conference on Ecological Restoration in Freising, Germany

Our working group participated in the Conference on Ecological Restoration with several talks and posters. Karel Prach started with a keynote speech and summarized the findings about spontaneous succession. This was followed by talks focused on successional stages emerging in post-mining sites and their importance for nature conservation (Klára Řehounková, Lenka Šebelíková). The possibility of using recreational activities as a low-cost tool for nature conservation in model localities in south Bohemia was presented in a special session chared by Klára Řehounková and Robert Tropek. The research of our group was also represented with two posters - Anna Müllerová addressed vegetation succession in wetland areas in sand pits and Kamila Lencová focused on determining of the potential for colonization of the central European flora in human disturbed sites.

The project „Rekreační aktivity jako nízkonákladový nástroj ochrany přírody v postindustriální krajině: modelové lokality v Jihočeském kraji“ was financially supported by the South Bohemian region.

Excursion with the dignified professor

Part of our group went for a week-long excursion focused on vegetation classification which took place under the leadership of Karel Prach. The introductory photo depicts our professor having a late breakfast in a French style. The vegetation in the foreground was not classified even after professional disputation with local botanist Tomáš Tichý (Administration of PLA Český Kras).

We visited spoil heaps after uranium mining in Příbram, new PLA Brdy and oak woods with Quercus pubescens in Český Kras.

 

Classification of vegetation on former spoil heap, currently a dump Buštěhrad at the end of the day - Atriplecetum nitentis!

The research on the impact of geocaching on psamophytic vegetation successfully continues also in this year!

Also this year, we observe how geocaching can contribute to the protection of rare psamophytic communities. It seems that this unconventional management could work - by trampling and disruption of grass turfs the geocachers could help to maintain open habitats for the rarest species of insects as well as plants.

To show the geocachers how best to act around the caches, we placed small bookmarks into the cache boxes. So go ahead and visit the south Bohemian sand pits :).

 

Swimming in sand pit benefits the biodiversity!

Yes, it is true! Plants prosper from disturbances and psamophytic plant twice as much. Research in the Cep II sand pit demonstrated that the effect of recreational activities could be also positive. Rare species of open habitats can be found on places where succession returns back to the very beginning and trees do not overgrow place. In our case, the management service to achive such conditions is done by voluneer swimmers, sunbathers and geocachers - and they do not even know :).

The project „Rekreační aktivity jako nízkonákladový nástroj ochrany přírody v postindustriální krajině: modelové lokality v Jihočeském kraji“ was financially supported by the South Bohemian region.

Interesting reading about succession from the USA to South Bohemia

During his research fellowship at Roger del Moral in Seattle, Karel Prach visited the legendary volcano Mount St. Helens. Karel summarized his observations about primary succession on lava fields in an article in Živa magazine (in Czech).

Some of you may remember that part of our goup led by Klára Řehounková took part in the Quarry Life Award in 2012 organized by HeidelbergCement Group. The competition continues successfully and is announced every second year. The Quarry Life website regularly releases new, for instance they wrote about our article which emerged from the results of our awarded project in Cep II sand pit (see here).

Photo source: http://www.greatoutdoors.com/published/unpredictable-mount-st-helens

The life of the dignified professor

There is no doubt that professors are very busy! We are often convinced about this fact by our professor Karel Prach who among all his obligations, teaching and writing of scientific articles does not forget about some joys. Before he left to France, he spent a couple of days with a world's leading expert on succession, Lars Walker. Their busy program included among others the oldest abandoned arable fields in the Czech Karst or Radovesice spoil heap. When we asked him to share some of their experiences with us, we received only a laconic reply: "We walk into the field, sit in pubs or work (we also sleep a little)... Greetings, K"

Difficult life, isn't it? :)