Summer news from National Nature Monument Váté písky and sand pits in southern Bohemia

In the vegetation season, there is always something going on. In the Váté písky near Bzenec, annual phytosociological sampling was held on permanent plots that were established in 2012. In some parts of the National Nature Monument, Ivana Jongepierová organized the topsoil removal to start the restoration of this rare habitat and to prevent the expansion of Calamagrostis epigejos. This project was successful and instead of stands of Calamagrostis, we now can see open sand patches with Corynephorus canescens stands.

Among others, we also sampled permanent plots that were established after a legendary fire event of Bzenec oak forest in 2012. At leats a small part of this area was left to the spontaneous development after negotiations with foresters.

Another interesting project for maintenance of open sandy patches in sand pits is geocaching. For geocaching fans, there are two series  - Borovany miniseries and Lžín sand pit.

Sheep departed from the island!

The sheep's exotic holiday at the island of the Cep II sand pit is over. And we have few tips and lessons learned for the next time:

 

1) Sheep can swim! It swims very well and it likes to swim!

2) They eat only young, still not entirely grown, Lotus corniculatus.

3) Three sheep is still too less even for the island.

4) Anything is impossible!

Internships for restoration ecology students

An important part of student's life are internships. Our restoration ecology students have the opportunity to spend it with eminent specialists. For example, Lenka Šebelíková has chosen Bernburg, Germany.

Lenka spends her PhD. internship at the Anhalt University of Applied Sciences at Dr. Anita Kirmer and Prof. Dr. habil. Sabine Tischew. The Restoration Ecology group has collaborated with both of them for many years. During her stay, Lenka is shown projects for restoration of mining sites but also degraded nature protection areas and species-rich field margins. She also has the opportunity to visit some mining sites and collect data for her PhD. Thesis and for a scientific paper that should arise in the future from the collaboration with colleagues from Germany and Hungary. 

For more information contact: lenuskasch@gmail.com

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.