Sheep on the service of restoration ecology :)

Almost impossible became real and a small flock of sheep has grazed on an islet in the Cep II sand pit since yesterday evening. And if we say small, we mean small - two meritorious female grazers and one cute black lamb. Until Sunday they will graze the experimental plots for restoration of psammophytic grasslands which were established in 2009. Lotus corniculatus spreads on plots with transfered biomass and it needs to be suppressed. Moreover, it is also desirable to disrupt thick layers of lichens and moses.

Transport of sheep on a ferry went smoothly and sheep seem satisfied with the food supply. Alča Bartošová will oversee that they enjoy their vacation and she deserves many thanks that she was not afraid and went for it! Many thanks also to our favorite ferry driver who assisted for the whole time and transported the girls smoothly to the other bank. 

 

So now we have to rely on the sheep's appetite and let them graze everything according to a planned "zig-zag" design!

Do we want to play in a stone quarry? :)

In the early spring we went to the field, namely to the Vysočina highlands again, where we were looking for reclaimed acid quarries. And the result? We did not find any! That made us very happy and we enjoyed a number of spontaneously revegetated beautiful quarries. In the Brádlo quarry near Kosov we met Ing. Karel Lorek, Chief Executive Officer of Českomoravský štěrk. The Brádlo quarry is abandoned quarry owned by the Českomoravský štěrk and in the future it could become another "field laboratory" for spontaneous and directed succession in acid quarries. It should also serve as relaxation area for visitors. We are very thankful for the trust and we are already looking forward to the work in the quarry!

Uranium quarry near Dolní Rožínka was the only reclaimed mining area which we found during our field trip.

Karel Prach's research fellowship at leading expert on primary succession!

Karel Prach sends greetings from the office of Roger del Moral who is a leading expert in the field of vegetation succession. Karel has commenced his six-month internship at the University of Washington where he will, among other, examine the process of succession on a former dam.

Cep II sand pit is a busy place!

A short document about the "laboratory of spontaneous and directed succession" and Klára Řehounková's team who won Quarry Life Award two years ago was shot at the Cep II sand pit. The document shows how the winning project proceeds and how successful the implementation of the restoration proposal is. The document was shown at this year's awarding ceremony which was held on Tuesday 10th December. Karel Prach has been a member of a national jury and assessed the quality of partitioning projects. More about the competition and and this year's successful projects can be find here

(Author of the video: Českomoravský štěrk a.s., photos from awarding ceremony: HeidelbergCement)

Rescue work at the Cep II sand pit

...or "permanent plots at risk"

Permanent plots were established in the Cep II sand pit in the fall 2013. On these plots we study vegetation development on different substrates, with varying degree of disturbance and with or without transferred biomass. However, some plots were destroyed after heavy rains during the season 2014 and due to instability of adjacent slope. Nevertheless we decided to "fight against wind and rain" and build an "erosion control barrier".

Even under these circumstances, we do not forget about plants and botany. We discovered rare plant Elatine hexandra (Six-stamened waterwort) on our permanent plots near the lakeshore. This inconspicuous but beautiful plant belongs to retreating and endangered taxa (category C2t) in the Czech Republic.

Workshop on "Plants and fungi in sand pits: protection and management"

More than 50 participants from different parts of the country attended a workshop called "Plants and fungi in sand pits: protection and management" held on Thursday 6. November and organized by Calla - Association for Preservation of the Environment.

Members of the Restoration ecology working group contributed significantly to the content of the workshop. Kamila Lencová presented a short overview of biotopes in sand pits. Lenka Šebelíková gave a talk about various aspects of forestry reclamation. The largest contribution had Klára Řehounková who familiarized the participants with the issue of invasive plants in sand pits, successional development and also ways how the successional process in sand pits can be manipulated.

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.