German colleagues from Hochschule Anhalt visited us

In September, our German colleagues, who study flowering strips and their role in increasing biodiversity of plants and insects in agricultural landscape, visited České Budějovice. They spent here 6 and 17 days, respectively. 

Thomas Stahl, Heiner Hensen, Annika Schmidt and Michael Jung are responsible for the field work and data collection on the flowering strips but also for data evaluation and analyses in the German project. Similarly to us, they collect data on vascular plants and selected groups of insects within the flowering strips. Moreover, they do also observation of birds and GIS analyses of the surrounding. "The work of our German colleagues is very inspiring for us. Their experience with designing of the seed mixtures, vast range of the flowering strips and success in negotiations with farmers is invaluable for us. This season they observed 60 flowering strips of tens of hectares," says Lenka Šebelíková, who visited a lot of flowering strips during her stay in Germany in June. "During their stay in České Budějovice they visited our flowering strips and we have the opportunity to discuss the composition of seed mixtures and following management of the flowering strips," added Lenka Šebelíková.

"The situation in Germany is, in this respect, much more favourable than in our country. Establishment of flowering strips is even supported by state subsidies. I firmly believe that the situation in our country will improve and establishment of flowering strips promoting diversity of plants and insects will be supported in urban or even agricultural landscapes," added the investigator of the bilateral Czech-German project Karel Prach.

The stay of our German colleagues in České Budějovice and our stay in Bernburg in June was covered by Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports of the Czech Republic within the Mobility grant 7AMB17DE017 Establishment of species-rich field margins and wildflower strips in rural and urban areas - optimization of methods for biodiversity enhancement.

Vegetation season 2017... to be continued :-)

Summer is slowly coming to its end, but the vegetation season for the Restoration Ecology group is not ending et all. We have had almost no rest since May and our field work continues by the end of September. Besides annual sampling of the permanent plots in Cep II sand pit, Váté písky and Kosov quarry, we have also added a survey of a new pasture mainly for bisons in former military area Milovice.

The promising project on promotion of open habitats in abandoned sand pits also continues. Geocachers help to remove litter and grass turfs by trampling and thus maintain open substrate suitable for competitively weak species of plants and endangered species of insects.

Because Klára Řehounková and Karel Prach are investigators of the GAČR grant 17-09979S  "Factors determining vegetation succession at the country scale", a massive campaign to enlarge the DaSS database has been launched. Under this grant, a lot of successional series were resampled or new samples were collected. Database extension will be large!

Botanical and entomological monitoring of flowering strips in the City Park Stromovka and in the University Campus takes place during the whole season under the guidance of Klára Řehounková and Lenka Šebelíková.

We also do not forget about social life. We spent very nice and pleasant internship in Bernburg, Germany with our German colleagues under the Mobility grant of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports 7AMB17DE017 "Establishment of species rich field margins and wildflower strips in rural and urban areas - optimization of methods for biodiversity enhancement".

We greatly thank to all our collaborators, because the amount of work during this season is enormous! And we have not finished yet... to be continued :-)

Sampling of Váté písky in southern Moravia successfully completed

June is the right time for sampling our permanent plots in "Moravian Sahara" - the NNR Váté písky. Since 2012, we have observed how the succession proceed on plots where the topsoil was removed to eradicate expansive Calamagrostis epigejos. The results are amazing! Most of the target and endangered species colonized these new sites immediately. The sites still remain open after five years thus serving as unique large-scale refugies for psamophilous species.

In addition to Váté písky, we have permanent plots also in nearby Bzenecká doubrava which burnt five years ago. In agreement with forestry administration, a small part of the burned forest was left for spontaneous development.

We thank Ivana Jongepierová for her help in the field, her hospitality and moral support, and Karel Fajmon for his help in the field and the photos!

Sheep are back to the island...feel like home!

On Wednesday, May 17 we transported sheep to the island in the Cep II sand pit. The sheep will again graze experimental plots for restoration of dry grasslands where bird's-foot trefoil (Lotus corniculatus) started to overgrow the psamophytic vegetation. This management is again carried out by our colleague Alča Bartošová and her fluffy "management tools". Their 6-day "holiday" ends on Monday and we greatly thank all the protagonists, this year for the third time. 

Excursion within Ecological restoration course in 2017

On Monday April 24, a one-day excursion to the Kosov quarry near Jihlava took place. This excursion was a part of Ecological restoration course taught by Klára Řehounková. Students had an opportunity to go through the quarry an explore it in detail - from the oldest parts with grown trees and nice forest species in the herb layer, to disturbed open plateaus, floors and shallow water pools.

Industrially mined peat bog Branná was next stop on the route. For comparison, they visited also preserved, although formerly extensively mined, peat bog Červené blato. Students could see extensive stands of endangered marsh rosemary (Rhododendron palustre) in the oldest parts of the peat bog.

Karel Prach back to the USA

Karel Prach is in the USA again, this time not for a half of a year, but only for a month. Karel was invited by a leading expert Prof. Lawrence Walker from the University of Nevada. Together, they write a book entitled "Comparative Plant Succession between Terrestrial Biomes of the World". The book will be finished during the first half of the next year and is going to be published in the Cambridge University Press.

The new Standards for Ecological Restoration released!

This document, International Standards for the Practice of Ecological Restoration – including Principles and Key Concepts, provides standards to guide practitioners, operational personnel, planners, managers, regulators and funding agencies involved in restoring degraded ecosystems anywhere in the world – whether terrestrial, freshwater, coastal or marine. It places ecological restoration into a global context, including its role in conserving biodiversity and improving human wellbeing. Karel Prach is co-editor and you can download this document here.

Achievements of our group in 2016

Our former student Lída Vlková succeeded in the 6th edition of a competition of projects for environmental protection "Jihočeská ratolest" with her master thesis. She won in the category of bachelor's and master's theses. In her study, Lída focuses on restoration of extracted peatland Soumarský most in the Šumava National Park which has been seriously damaged by peat extraction. She studied establishment of two species typical for peat bogs - bog cranberry (Vaccinium oxycoccos) and bog-rosemary (Andromeda polifolia). Congratulations Lída!

In the same competition but in different category, NGO Calla and our group as its partner succeeded with the project on low-cost maintaining open sandy habitats. This novel project does not hesitate to engage public in the nature conservation. It utilizes geocaching not only to show beautiful and interesting places to people but also to protect valuable sites.

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