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.


Next phase of near-natural restoration in the Cep II sand pit started.

In November, extraction of sand ended in another part of the Cep II sand pit. Represntatives of the Administration of PLA Třeboňsko, the owner of the sand pit Českomoravský Štěrk a.s. and our team agreed that a substantial part of the area would be left to the spontaneous succession after a slight modeling of the surface. Part of this area was designated to research. Forestry reclamation was carried out only in 15 meters wide stripes along the way.

In December, the modeling of the surface and creation of experimental plots was performed (see picture). Sandy and loamy plots were created where the spontaneous recovery of dry grasslands will be studied.

A summary publication on the course of succession not only in mining sites was published.

An article summarizing the course of succession in mad-disturbed habitats is finally online. It summarizes information fromm 19 successional seres, describes the direction of succession and numbers of desired and undesired species. You can download it here.

Prach, K., Řehounková, K., Lencová, K., Jírová, A., Konvalinková, P., Mudrák, O., Študent, V., Vaněček, Z., Tichý, L., Petřík, P., Šmilauer, P., Pyšek, P. (2013), Vegetation succession in restoration of disturbed sites in Central Europe: the direction of succession and species richness across 19 seres. Applied Vegetation Science. doi: 10.1111/avsc.12064

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