Excellent defense of our colleague's thesis

Miguel Ballesteros Jiménez, who spent several months of his internship with our group, defended his dissertation thesis last week at the University of Granada. His thesis on Restoration of gypsum habitats affected by quarrying: Guidance for assisted vegetation recovery received an excellent evaluation. Klára Řehounková, who also participated, immediately shared her impression with us: "The defense was really great. None of the opponents had any major comment and I believe the results of the thesis will have practical applications." We congratulate Miguel and hope that he will continue with his interesting work. 

Success has to be properly celebrated - for this purpose Miguel's colleagues gave him a guitar and our dignified professor sent him an "important restoration toll" (Marrs 2016).

Marrs R. 2016: Managing soil fertility for ecological restoration. In: Kollman J. & Hermann J.-M. Best practice in restoration. The 10th European conference on ecological restoration abstract volume. Technische Universität München.

Pleasant Christmas and all the best in the new year

We thank all our colleagues and co-workers for the huge amount of work we have done this year. We wish to all a pleasant Christmas time and a lot of enthusiasm into the next year.

Christmas mood in the field

Even the freezing weather cannot discourage us from going out into the field. This time we visited Moldavite mining site Hrbov. Although a large part of the site is planned for forestry reclamation, some water and wetland plots and their surroundings will be left for spontaneous development. We are happy that they are willing to use spontaneous development as a reclamation measure, and that the owner of the mining company is interested in working with us.

November conference inspiration

November is full of conferences. Our student Anička Müllerová participated in the 9th conference for master and doctoral students Kostelecké inspirování with her presentation Succession of aquatic and wetland vegetation in abandoned sandpits. This conference is organized by the Czech University of Life Sciences with the aim to exchange experience and establish contacts between students of biological and environmental disciplines.

Immediately thereafter, a Conference of the Czech Botanical Society took place in Prague on Ecology and evolution of plants on anthropogenic habitats in central Europe. A large part of our working group, including external collaborators, participated in the conference. In addition to stimulating and interesting contributions, the conference provided a place to meet our colleagues again.

(Photos: Official photos of organizers of both events, photo of Anička Müllerová)

Near-natural restoration at conference in Brussels

Last week, a conference entitled Reconciling biodiversity protection and extractive activities organized by the European Commission took place in Brussels. The main aim of the conference was to complement Commission's guidelines on non-extractive industry and Natura2000 and provide inputs for implementing the measure of the Action Plan for Nature, People and Economy. Klára Řehounková was invited as a speaker for the session Biodiversiy during after-mining rehabiliation. She demonstrated the effectiveness of ecological restoration in post-mining sites at a country and also global scale. She also promoted the Society for Ecological Restoration (SER) Europe, which can facilitate the transfer of knowledge through the network of experts from different fields. Meeting with people from various fields involved in extraction of natural resources clearly demonstrated an interest in efficient and economically advantageous restoration of sites disturbed by mining activities.

Two of our students awarded in the Jihočeská ratolest contest!

Two of our students have succeeded in the 7th edition of the contest Jihočeská ratolest which aim is to contribute to improvement of the environment and to rise knowledge in this issue in the South Bohemian region. Our students Anička Müllerová and Míla Prošková have been awarded in the category of bachelor's and master's theses. Anička came second with her master thesis Succession of aquatic and wetland vegetation in abandoned sandpits, and Míla came fourth with her bachelor thesis Establishment of selected late successional and alien woody species in forestry reclaimed and spontaneously developed postmining habitats.

We congratulate Anička and Míla and wish them to enjoy their further work!

Note, that it is not for the first time that our students score in this competition. For example, last year, Lída Vlková won in the same category with her thesis about assisted restoration of a peatland.

German colleagues from Hochschule Anhalt visited us

In September, our German colleagues, who study flowering strips and their role in increasing biodiversity of plants and insects in agricultural landscape, visited České Budějovice. They spent here 6 and 17 days, respectively. 

Thomas Stahl, Heiner Hensen, Annika Schmidt and Michael Jung are responsible for the field work and data collection on the flowering strips but also for data evaluation and analyses in the German project. Similarly to us, they collect data on vascular plants and selected groups of insects within the flowering strips. Moreover, they do also observation of birds and GIS analyses of the surrounding. "The work of our German colleagues is very inspiring for us. Their experience with designing of the seed mixtures, vast range of the flowering strips and success in negotiations with farmers is invaluable for us. This season they observed 60 flowering strips of tens of hectares," says Lenka Šebelíková, who visited a lot of flowering strips during her stay in Germany in June. "During their stay in České Budějovice they visited our flowering strips and we have the opportunity to discuss the composition of seed mixtures and following management of the flowering strips," added Lenka Šebelíková.

"The situation in Germany is, in this respect, much more favourable than in our country. Establishment of flowering strips is even supported by state subsidies. I firmly believe that the situation in our country will improve and establishment of flowering strips promoting diversity of plants and insects will be supported in urban or even agricultural landscapes," added the investigator of the bilateral Czech-German project Karel Prach.

The stay of our German colleagues in České Budějovice and our stay in Bernburg in June was covered by Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports of the Czech Republic within the Mobility grant 7AMB17DE017 Establishment of species-rich field margins and wildflower strips in rural and urban areas - optimization of methods for biodiversity enhancement.

Vegetation season 2017... to be continued :-)

Summer is slowly coming to its end, but the vegetation season for the Restoration Ecology group is not ending et all. We have had almost no rest since May and our field work continues by the end of September. Besides annual sampling of the permanent plots in Cep II sand pit, Váté písky and Kosov quarry, we have also added a survey of a new pasture mainly for bisons in former military area Milovice.

The promising project on promotion of open habitats in abandoned sand pits also continues. Geocachers help to remove litter and grass turfs by trampling and thus maintain open substrate suitable for competitively weak species of plants and endangered species of insects.

Because Klára Řehounková and Karel Prach are investigators of the GAČR grant 17-09979S  "Factors determining vegetation succession at the country scale", a massive campaign to enlarge the DaSS database has been launched. Under this grant, a lot of successional series were resampled or new samples were collected. Database extension will be large!

Botanical and entomological monitoring of flowering strips in the City Park Stromovka and in the University Campus takes place during the whole season under the guidance of Klára Řehounková and Lenka Šebelíková.

We also do not forget about social life. We spent very nice and pleasant internship in Bernburg, Germany with our German colleagues under the Mobility grant of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports 7AMB17DE017 "Establishment of species rich field margins and wildflower strips in rural and urban areas - optimization of methods for biodiversity enhancement".

We greatly thank to all our collaborators, because the amount of work during this season is enormous! And we have not finished yet... to be continued :-)