Safari in Milovice

In the former arable field in Milovice, where we transferred biomass three years ago, aurochs and horses have been grazing since this year. So far, the grazed part is only slightly bitten, but it is already clear from the photos that the biomass is lower. In plots with transferred biomass, target species are beginning to increase, together with desired species of herbs and grasses.

We also re-sampled the so-called dust bath places. Unfortunately, some of them were destroyed by wild boars, but we also managed to find completely new plots. Our cars have become an attraction for wild horses. They thought it was candies and appropriately licked the car of the Faculty of Science as well as the Institute of Botany. When it came to kicking, Ondra stopped it as the right leader with the words, "Well, well, well" ... and the cars were saved.

Grazed (left) and ungrazed (right) plots in the former arable field

Cooperation with our German colleagues within the Erasmus+ program

Anita Kirmer and Sabine TischewCzech and German students have a now an opportunity to take part in exchange study stays thanks to the cooperation between the University of South Bohemia and the German Hochschule Anhalt within the Erasmus+ program. On the German side, the program is guaranteed by our colleagues, prof. Sabine Tischew and Dr. Anita Kirmer, with whom we have long-term cooperation. Students have the opportunity to study a bachelor or master degree in Nature Conservation and Landscape Planning. More information and online form can be found here.

Water games or new grazing plots in wetlands

Last year, we included the first wetland localities among the areas where we monitor the effect of grazing on the vegetation development. Baroch is a new wetland locality where Exmoor ponies, specifically 11 males, have been grazing since autumn. We sampled Josefovské louky already the last year. In addition to horses, this time we met three aurochs, specifically one curious cub, its mother and another almost-mother. Even though everyone is already expecting the birth, it did not take place during our stay. There was really a lot of water this year, so we had a unique opportunity to put on our new outfits. We look good, don't we? 

Back to science - in Josefovské louky, you can see that the animals can reduce the vegetation cover during the first year. Grazed and ungrazed plots are distinguishable with the naked eye. Different situation is in Podyjí, where we have been monitoring the grazing of dry grasslands already for four years. It seems that the vegetation changes between plots are no longer as significant as in the first years.

Maintenance of the flowering strips

After a long winter, our flowering strips in the University campus and in the Stromovka city park woke up. It is the time for their inspection and possible maintenance. This time, we weeded nettles which started to thrive in several places, and we also cut grasses which would otherwise overgrow the desired sown herbs. We will find out soon how these interventions will benefit the flowering strips.

Memories from our "field laboratory" at Cep II sand pit

A place called a lagune. Six years ago flooded with water, nowadays dry and fast overgrowing. In 2015, we did not swim, but did science in practice: monitoring of aquatic macrophytes and plants of emerged bottoms!When comparing older photographs with those from this year, we are amazed by the speed of succession. The only spots with bare sand can be found only in places used for recreational activities (i.e. sunbathing, swimming) in the summer, and on the exposed tops of our experimental hills, which successfully slow down the succession (for details, hover your mouse over the photos). Experimental hills - they effectively slow down the succession! During a sunny day, you can still hear buzzing.A slope where we also established monitoring sites. In the background, there is a freshly established forestry reclamation. Nowadays, it is almost impossible to go through the tree stand in the background. The slopes also overgrow, although more slowly.

Flowering strips are already waking up

Despite the weather, the flowering strips in the Stromovka city park start to wake up, and the sown species have already appear - Centaurea spp., Achillea millefolium, Leonurus cardiaca, Silene spp. and others. We firmly hope that there will be many more during the vegetation season.

One of the flowering strips needed a little help because it was poorly established from the beginning and did not prosper well. Nevertheless, we have already noticed several rosettes of Leonurus cardiaca, a favorite plant of insects. We believe that our intervention will help the flowering strip to thrive and that all the strips will make insects and also people happy.

The first field trip of this season

The official start of the vegetation season turned out great - we did not freeze... well, almost. Yesterday, we discussed establishment of new monitoring plots for sheep grazing in Žďár nad Sázavou. For example, we are going to sample Zelená hora (a famous hill with Pilgrimage Church of Saint John of Nepomuk, a World Heritage Site)! The city of Žďár nad Sázavou is preparing a project that includes a number of changes in the city's greenery and the surrounding landscape. They plan to use spontaneous and assisted succession - green field edges, flowering strips, shallow water pools, species-rich meadows, or new avenues (lines of woody species along a straight path or road) should be created. All that remains is to keep your fingers crossed that the project will be realized.

Rejuvenated sand dune

Last autumn, we organized a "relaxing" activity for colleagues from our department, during which we weeded the sand dune at the faculty garden. The reason was that the reopening of sandy patches is necessary not only to support the desired vegetation, but especially the solitary bees and wasps. And how does the sand dune look like now? In some places, small rosettes of the small cudweed (Filago minima) and the dwarf everlast (Helichrysum arenarium) can already be seen. However, it was almost impossible to work on the sand dune, as solitary bees buzzed and crawled everywhere.

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