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 their 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? :)

Sheep on the island - second edition!

Experimental plots for the restoration of dry grasslands on the island in the middle of the Cep II sand pit were grazed again with a small flock of sheep. But this year, there were more sheep and nearly a month earlier than last year. Sheep do not like Lotus corniculatus, which started to expand in certain plots, and Calamagrostis epigejos too much and therefore it was necessary to start grazing when it is very young and juicy. And we can say that the grazing management was successful! Even Pinus trees were deprived of needles. We thank not only the management protagonists themselves, but also Alena Bartošová, the cheerful shepherdess! Last but not least, our thanks belong also to employees of the mining company - Mr. Blafka and the ferry driver who smoothly transported sheep to and from the island.

 

Seminar on landscape restoration after mining in Olomouc

A seminar on restoration of post-indistrial landscapes took place on 11 February in Palacký University in Olomouc. The seminar was designed not only for students and academics but also for state administration employees, NGOs and mining companies. Members of our working group - Klára Řehounková and Karel Prach - actively participated at the seminar. They presented the results from their long-term research, including current projects. Similar meetings of experts from different spheres are currently more and more abundant and ecological restoration will be hopefully more frequently used in practice.