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 "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 grant of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports "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 :-)

Sampling of Váté písky in southern Moravia successfully completed

June is the right time for sampling our permanent plots in "Moravian Sahara" - the NNR Váté písky. Since 2012, we have observed how the succession proceed on plots where the topsoil was removed to eradicate expansive Calamagrostis epigejos. The results are amazing! Most of the target and endangered species colonized these new sites immediately. The sites still remain open after five years thus serving as unique large-scale refugies for psamophilous species.

In addition to Váté písky, we have permanent plots also in nearby Bzenecká doubrava which burnt five years ago. In agreement with forestry administration, a small part of the burned forest was left for spontaneous development.

We thank Ivana Jongepierová for her help in the field, her hospitality and moral support, and Karel Fajmon for his help in the field and the photos!

Sheep are back to the island...feel like home!

On Wednesday, May 17 we transported sheep to the island in the Cep II sand pit. The sheep will again graze experimental plots for restoration of dry grasslands where bird's-foot trefoil (Lotus corniculatus) started to overgrow the psamophytic vegetation. This management is again carried out by our colleague Alča Bartošová and her fluffy "management tools". Their 6-day "holiday" ends on Monday and we greatly thank all the protagonists, this year for the third time. 

Excursion within Ecological restoration course in 2017

On Monday April 24, a one-day excursion to the Kosov quarry near Jihlava took place. This excursion was a part of Ecological restoration course taught by Klára Řehounková. Students had an opportunity to go through the quarry an explore it in detail - from the oldest parts with grown trees and nice forest species in the herb layer, to disturbed open plateaus, floors and shallow water pools.

Industrially mined peat bog Branná was next stop on the route. For comparison, they visited also preserved, although formerly extensively mined, peat bog Červené blato. Students could see extensive stands of endangered marsh rosemary (Rhododendron palustre) in the oldest parts of the peat bog.

Karel Prach back to the USA

Karel Prach is in the USA again, this time not for a half of a year, but only for a month. Karel was invited by a leading expert Prof. Lawrence Walker from the University of Nevada. Together, they write a book entitled "Comparative Plant Succession between Terrestrial Biomes of the World". The book will be finished during the first half of the next year and is going to be published in the Cambridge University Press.

The new Standards for Ecological Restoration released!

This document, International Standards for the Practice of Ecological Restoration – including Principles and Key Concepts, provides standards to guide practitioners, operational personnel, planners, managers, regulators and funding agencies involved in restoring degraded ecosystems anywhere in the world – whether terrestrial, freshwater, coastal or marine. It places ecological restoration into a global context, including its role in conserving biodiversity and improving human wellbeing. Karel Prach is co-editor and you can download this document here.

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.