Restoration ecology in our backyard

A real proof of scientific activities within the Faculty of Science is the place between building B and C in the university campus. The place of intended parking place was transformed by colleagues from the Department of Botany into a collection of diverse biotopes. The place will serve for relaxation as well as for educational purposes. The space is dominated by a sand dune, imitation of actual sand dunes which are very rare in current human-altered landscape. The Restoration ecology group, under the leadership of "biomass boss" Klára Řehounková, will use methods of assisted succession to restore dry grasslands on the created sand dune - biomass transfers, surface trampling and sowing of target species.

We look forward many interesting species that we will record in the next season!

Members of our group at the conference on ecological restoration SER2014

The 9th European Conference on Ecological Restoration was held 3. - 8. August in Oulu, Finland. The topic of the conference was Restoration, Ecosystem Services and Land Use Policy. Members of our group participated at this conference with their talks and posters. Klára Řehounková started a special session called Passive restoration: can we let succession do the work? talking about "Disturbance as a tool for biodiversity: an interdisciplinary approach to restoration and conservation benefits of post-mining sites". Ondřej Mudrák with his presentation "What tell us initial species composition about the future progress in the spontaneous succession?" and Kamila Lencová presenting "How much do alien species participate in contemporary human-made habitats?" were among other speakers. Karel Prach gave his lecture called "Do not neglect surroundings in restoration of disturbed sites" in other session about resilience ecology. Students Ludmila Vlková a Lenka Šebelíková presented posters with results of their theses.

On their way to Oulu, the group visited wooded meadows in Estonia guided by Marek Sammul and a spontaneously revegetated sand pit in Tallinn.

This year's Ecology Olympiad was in the spirit of ecological restoration

The main topic of this year's Ecology Olympiad was RESTORATION. The national contest was held 12. - 14. June in Hradce near České Budějovice. Members of our group were also involved in preparation and realization of the contest. Klára Řehounková prepared test questions and a post about ecological restoration at a scientific trail. She also set a practical assignment and evaluated it later as the chair of the jury. Karel Prach then gave a lecture on restoration ecology.

Entomologists in the Cep II - short article in

Entomologists from the University of South Bohemia have discovered several endangered species in the restored part of the Cep II sand pit. Some of these species are protected all over the Europe. Several dozens of small water pools were created during the restoration of the sand pit which now serve as habitats for rare and endangered organisms. Such habitats with low nutrient content are rare in the modern-day landscape.

"Small water pools in sand pits serve as model example of new water bodies which are colonized by specialized species of insect. The resulting community is simple as there are not many such specialized species and therefore can be well studied," says David Boukal, leader of one of the entomogical groups in the Cep II sand pit.

Ecological Restoration at the Department of Botany

New course Restoration Ecology II - Ecological Restoration was held in the summer semester for the first time. The course included also three excursions to different post-industrial sites. At the end of April students visited mining area Cep II, for which they were expected to prepare a restoration proposal, and other sand pits in the Třeboňsko region. A two-day excursion to the quarries in South Moravia and Vysočina Highlands followed in the middle of May. The whole course was closed with a short excursion to the settling basin at the edge of České Budějovice this week.

Qurries in the Vysočina highlands are not reclaimed?!

In two days we went through a large part of the Vysočina highlands, visited seven abandoned and also active quarries and were pleased to found out that quarries in the Vysočina highlands are not reclaimed or afforested but left to the spontaneous succession! Valuable successional stages are formed there, either with trees, flooded depressions or dry rocky habitats. Only one out of the seven visited quarries, Krásněves, was completely afforested with pine, spruce and larch, probably because of its large size. Quarries in the Vysočina highlands - an example of a good non-reclamation practice!

When summer asks you what you did during winter...

The research activity on experimental plots in the Cep II sand pit has many aspects. Our team may have been confused with a cheerful bunch of excavation diggers theese days. Minor landslide of a slope above our experimental "chessboard" overlaid one of the plots and silted the drainage channel. It was therefore necessary to take up shovels. In addtion some of the experimental plots were disrupted by creation of small holes for seedlings establishment. In this case spades and rakes were the best working tools. However, not everybody participated equally in the excavation works as you can see in the pictures :).

Entomologists are also working hard and set yellow pan traps. Jiří Řehounek, the leader entomologist of the Cep II sand pit, confided that "thanks to the nice weather it really flies."

Thanks to all "diggers" and "rakers" for their help (Jiří Řehounek, Tomáš Englický, Karel Prach, Klára Řehounková, Kamila Lencová, Lenka Schmidtmayerová)!

How to attract students to study restoration ecology...

The Restoration Ecology working group seeks for new students. For more information see the "recruitment flyer". Topics are diverse, interesting and applicable! Bachelor, master and Ph.D students are invited to join us.


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