Flower strips in university campus already in flower!

The flower strips in the university campus are already in flower. We are really happy about how they look like. Besides many flowers of Leucanthemum, we can find also flowering Lychnis viscaria, Salvia pratensis, or Reseda lutea. We were surprised that this spring we could not see any nice blue flowers of Centaurea cyanus. Still, we dare to say that the flower strips are nice this year. We are curious how many plant species and how many interesting species of butterflies and bees we will find during the monitoring this year. Therefore we kindly ask - please do not pluck the plants.

The flower strips in city park Stromovka seem to be a bit late in comparison with the flower strips in university campus, however they also look very promising!

(Photo: J. Řehounek, L. Šebelíková)

Restoration of china clay mines in Spain

Klára Řehounková represented SER Europe in the Expert Panel Action organized by the TECMINE in Valencia. She gave a lecture about experiences with passive and active restoration approach in post-mining sites. The high potential LIFE project TECMINE deals with a cost-effective restoration of a china clay mine in a Mediterranean forest area using innovative techniques.

Restoration of post-mining sites in Mediterranean areas is challenging. The mine is situated in a highly eroded area in elevation of about 1 000 m above sea level. The impressive restoration plan includes various restoration techniques with the aim to reduce soil erosion processes, stabilize steep slopes and establish mixture of forests and steppe-like grasslands.

The field work was carried out on the first day within a group of professionals specialised in different fields such as botany, geology and geomorphology, ecological engineering, restoration ecology, hydrology or social sciences. The second day, several presentations summarized experiences from European countries from various aspects and provided some suggestions trying to find an optimal plan through discussion focused on particular alternatives. Really amazing best-practise example of multidisciplinary and comprehensive restoration action - good luck TECMINE!

Monitoring of pasture in former military area Milovice

We take advantage of sunny spring days and go to the field. One of our field trips led us to Milovice where an existing wild horse pasture will be enlarged. Part of this future pasture is and abandoned field which we intend to regrass by a biomass transfer. Therefore we searched for suitable donor sites for green hay harvesting during our field trip. We are already curious if the hay transfer will be successful and the abandoned field become a nice pasture with a lot of flowering herbs.

In addition, we will also monitor the effect of grazing on vegetation development, similarly as in Podyjí, about which we have informed earlier.

Back in Příbramské dumps after 10 years

Ten years ago, our former student observed vegetation development on 4 dumps after uranium mining near Příbram. Our master student Katka Vejvodová will repeat the study this year. Therefore we went together to the field to see how the spoil heaps currently look like and to find suitable plots for vegetation sampling.

We thank Mr. Faktor for his company and a lot of useful information.

This year's first trip to the field

The Restoration ecology group went to the field again after the winter. This time, we visited two localities in the PLA Podyjí where Exmoor ponies will start to graze at the end of April. It is a unique opportunity to compare development of extensively grazed vegetation with non-grazed vegetation. Our colleagues from Brno who already have experience with similar observations, a representative of Administration of the PLA, and Miloslav Jirků who is responsible for the ponies accompanied us into the field. Together we have found suitable plots for monitoring of the vegetation development. And now the ponies can come and start to graze!

Both localities enthralled us by numerous flowers of Pulsatilla grandis and Gagea bohemica. And we even could see snowy tops of Alps.

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.