Geocaching in sand pits

We continue in our promising project on support open habitats in abandoned sand pits using geocaching. Visitors help to disturb the dead biomass layer and turfs by trampling thus mintaining bare substrate suitable for competitively weak species of plants and endangered species of insects.

This year we rereated sampling in several localities near Třebeč and Lžín but we also established new cache in sand pit Hroznějovice. Do not hesitate and support endangered species by geocaching!!

Flowering strips in blossom - monitoring continues

This week, we continue with sampling of flowering strips in the Stromovka city park and the University campus, this time with the help of the Italian student Chiara, who joined our group thanks to the Erasmus + program. Besides many oxeye daisies (Leucanthemum vulgare), we found for example white bedstraw (Galium album), yellow chamomile (Anthemis tinctoria) or yellow mignonette (Reseda lutea). We are curious about the species which we record during the repeated sampling at the end of summer.

In addition to botanical research, entomological monitoring is carried out on the flowering strips, focusing on solitary wasps and bees, and butterflies, who use flowers within the strips as food.

Successful monitoring of NNR Váté písky near Bzenec

It has become a tradition to visit southern Moravia and sample permanent plots in NNR Váté písky in June. Since 2012, Restoration ecology group has monitored the process of vegetation succession of plots restored with removal of top soil layer with expansive grass Calamagrostis epigejos. Even after seven years since the plot establishemnt, most of them still maintain open character. They can thus serve as a refugia for a number of species typical of open sandy habitats which are almost absent in the agrarian landscape of southern Moravia.

In addition, we have also established permanent plots in nearby Bzenecká doubrava woodland which burnt seven years ago. After an agreement with the forestry administration, small part of the woodland was left for spontaneous succession.

We would like to thank Ivana Jongepierová and Karel Fajmon for their help in the field, hospitality and moral support.

Wild horses pasture effect in Podyjí … return to the scene

Last week, our working group together with the help of one of our external members, Luboš Tichý, returned to PLA Podyjí. Last year we established permanent plots in two localities – former military area Mašovice and heathland Havraníky. Both localities are grazed by wild horses (Exmoor ponies).

Therefore, we have a unique opportunity to compare development of extensively grazed with non-grazed vegetation. Especially, we aim at the effect of horse grazing on occurrence of woody species and shrubs.

Sheep once more on the island in sandpit

On Wednesday, May 22 we once more transported sheep to the island in the Cep II sand pit. The sheep stayed there for a whole week and they grazed our experimental plots for restoration of dry grasslands where bird's-foot trefoil (Lotus corniculatus) and wood small-reed (Calamgrostis epigejos) started to overgrow the psamophytic vegetation.

This management is as traditionally carried out by our colleague Alča Bartošová and her ecologically concious herd of sheep.  Their 8-day stay ended today on Wednesday, May 29.

We greatly thank all the protagonists (sheep and people included), this year for the fifth time!!

Restoration and succession on disturbed peatbogs

Happily forward with mostly dry feet! Wish us good luck in next three years when we will be studying how fast, from where and by what are disturbed peatbogs in Šumava Mountains colonized. We are interested in many things – from microscopic fungi and plants to butterflies. We are already fully equipped and full of enthusiasm as shown in the pictures.

The weather is in our favour therefore our working group is successfully continuing with our field work and field trips. With the beginning of April, we started field work on two harvested peatbgos and two preserved peatbogs. We managed to establish almost all permanent plots and prepare all the boreholes for measuring water level.


Vegetation season is coming! Pasture in military area near Milovice.

Sunny spring days are tempting us to set out for nature and so our working group is starting with field trips. Our first field trip was once again to the former military area near Milovice where we are studying the effect of pasture of large herbivores on the restoration of dry grasslands. Our experiment was established on abandoned field last summer and it was necessary to check on our permanent plots which will be sampled during June.

During the field trip, we were also looking for localities in the former military area which were burned and where we can study succession of plants. Furthermore, our group is planning to find and select several dust-bath places where we can observe the succession of plants and the effect of wild horses and European bison on the species composition.


Guidelines for establishment of flower-strips

One of the results of our collaboration with German colleagues from Hochschule Anhalt in Bernburg is a document with Guidelines for establishment of species rich flowering strips in rural and urban areas. English version of guidelines is free for download in the section: For the public.

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