Härtel H., Benda P., Nagel R. & others: The 15th Anniversary of the Bohemian Switzerland National Park – the 25th Anniversary of the Saxon Switzerland National Park
Launching the Bohemian Switzerland National Park on January 1, 2000, not only the fourth national park in the Czech Republic but also a new Central European transboundary protected area covering together more than 170 km2 was established. Saxon-Bohemian Switzerland is the largest sandstone rocky landscape in Europe. The “discovery” of the sandstone region by the landscape painters in the period of Romanticism was of crucial importance for further development of Saxon-Bohemian Switzerland towards a famous touristic destination. Therefore, nature conservation coming later, has a permanent task to seek for a consensus or compromise between conservation and tourism. The transboundary cooperation between both the parks (certified by the EUROPARC Federation within the Transboundary Parks Programme) plays a key role and includes a whole range of activities and projects, e.g. harmonizing zonation and management approaches, species recovery programmes/action plans (the Peregrine falcon Falco peregrinus, Atlantic salmon Salmo salar), digital terrain modelling, research on forest history, transboundary species distribution mapping, joint corporate design, cooperation between both visitor centres in Saxon and Bohemian Switzerland.
Kolibáč P., Plhal R. & Slavík P.: The Wild Boar in the Central European Landscape: A Native Species, but an Enemy?
Changes in the landscape structure and function caused by humans and those in the society over time, in addition to large carnivore extirpation, provided the Wild boar (Sus scrofa) with very favourable conditions in what is now the Czech Republic. The native game species has become one of the most important elements of current ecosystems, significantly influencing both fauna and flora. Due to its high numbers, the Wild boar´s habits are considered as damage to the environment or to agricultural production. Growing damages caused by the above ungulate has been a really pan-European trouble. In nature conservation, the Wild boars affects include particularly rooting for food, thus damaging forest natural regeneration capability as well as Specially Protected wild plant populations and causing changes in the herb/ground layer by ruderalization of a site affected and by introducing plant invasive alien species. The mammalian species also disturbs invertebrates in various developmental stages. In addition, also damages caused by the Wild boar on vertebrate populations, particularly by predation on birds and their clutches during the nesting period, have been becoming more common.
Therefore, the State Nature Conservancy authorities should specify necessary measures when planning Specially Protected Area management. Generally, due to constantly growing Wild boar numbers there should be a consensus how to solve the problem across the whole society in the Czech Republic.
Martinec P.: The Early Gentian
The Early gentian (Gentianella praecox subsp. bohemica) is endemic to the Bohemian Massif. In the past, it had been common on meadows and pastures within the whole distribution range. Moreover, since the 1950s, the number of sites inhabited by the biennal gentian has been dramatically declining. Currently, there are 59 sites in the Czech Republic, 27 in northern Austria, 7 in Germany (Bavaria) and 4 in southern Poland where Gentianella praecox subsp. bohemica has appeared at least once since 2005. The main driver of the gentian´s decline is habitat loss, caused particularly by absence or lack of the necessary management. Creation of gaps in surrounding vegetation through regular mowing together with disruption of turfs through harrowing have been identified as optimal management strategies. Detailed knowledge of the biology of short-lived gentians allows the identification of critical stages of their life cycle and prediction of population dynamics. As revealed by the special monitoring schemes, since 1999, the number of localities harbouring the Critically Endangered and Specially Protected wild plant species has been further declining in the Czech Republic. Therefore, the Gentianella praecox subsp. bohemica Recovery Programme/Action Plan in the Czech Republic was approved by the Ministry of the Environment of the Czech Republic in 2011. After assessing the conservation status of the remaining population across the country, it is clear that introducing the appropriate well-targeted management can significantly increase the number of flowering individuals at the site. Among the above biennal gentian populations in the Czech Republic, there are viable as well steadily declining ones.
Holá E., Manukjanová A., Ekrtová E. & Štěchová T.: Peat-bog Moss Sensitivity to Suitable Implementation of Management Measures in the Field
Bad management timing and its sloppy implementation might negatively change the moss layer in a very rapid way. When a rotting cut biomass lays on a moss layer for several weeks, the mosses start dying too. However, when suitable management is resumed in time, there is a high chance that the moss layer restores itself due to the high regeneration capability.
Vojtěchovská E.: The Report on Conservation Status of Bird Species Listed in Annex I to the European Union´s Birds Directive in the Czech Republic. Results of 2013 Assessment Reports
Pursuant to Directive 2009/147/EC on the conservation of wild birds, less formally known as the Birds Directive, assessment reports have to be regularly submitted by the European Union´s Member States to the European Commission. The reporting has been conducting by the Member States since 2008, initially in a 3-year, now in 6-year reporting cycle, thus having been reasonably synchronised with the reporting under Article 17 of the EU Habitats Directive. Moreover, the most recent assessment report forwarded to the European Commission in 2013, covering the period 2008–2012 presents the conservation status in the individual species, subspecies respectively. Thus it has become an important assessment of bird protection effectiveness in the individual Member States.
In the Czech Republic, the results of assessment reports are quite encouraging because 80 % of the bird species and subspecies assessed display increasing or stable trend in numbers. The trend in breeding range is similar, reaching even 90 % of the taxa assessed. Among main threats, hunting, wintering and fishing, wetland conversion trough drainage or removing trees with holes are the most important. On the contrary, nesting habitat management, improving forest management or favourable changes in water regime are considered to be the most significant nature conservation activities to protect the target species and their habitats.
The assessment reports were elaborated for 50 populations (breeding, wintering, passage) of 47 bird species and subspecies listed in Annex I to the Birds Directive and occurring in the Czech Republic.
Bohuňková V.: Erosion in Sandstone Rock-Pillar Landscapes Caused by Too Many Visitors – The Tiské stěny/Tisá Sandstone Rocks Nature Monument
In sandstone rock-pillar landscapes, a phenomenon very typical for the Czech Republic, erosion is a serious issue. The above natural process is in some areas amplified and enhanced by too many tourists visiting them. Tourists often do not respect the marked visitor paths and by walking outside them, they disturb the grass groundcover under rocks which naturally fixes the surface and slows down the surface runoff. Mountain-climbers grind off the surface, more solid crust of rocks which impede erosion. Consequently, sand is accumulated on sandstone rock foothills and is easily deflated far from the rocks in the rain. Therefore, the Labské pískovce/Elbe Sandstones Protected Landscape Area Administration implemented a project aiming at reducing the erosion in the Tiské stěny/Tisá Sandstone Rocks Nature Monument (northern Bohemia) by placing of wooden erosion control dam/barriers. At the sites where soil is run off the dams/barriers prevent the eroded mass to be deflated far away from the rocks and forming erosion furrows. At the same time, having been placed at some sites, they can help to direct visitors´ movement along the path. The paths, which are due to overloading by too many visitors affected by erosion, are fixed by staircase steps built from sandstone ashlars on the steeply terrain. For reaching the sustainability of the project, the Labské pískovce/Elbe Sandstone Protected Landscape Area Administration shall closely collaborate with the municipality of Tisá because the sandstone rock-pillar landscape is located on the Tisá´s cadastre/land register plots.
Pelc F. & Plesník J.: The Ol Pejeta Conservancy: Coexistence of Farming and Nature Conservation To be Hardly Believed
Ol Pejeta is a non-profit wildlife conservancy located near the equator in the Laikipia District of Central Kenya. The private protected area harbours a mosaic of grass plains, wooded grassland, Acacia woodland and evergreen thicket extending for 360 square kilometres. It is well-known due to its high variety of wild animals including the Big Five, which makes it a popular safari destination. Conservation of endangered species in their natural habitat represents a major part of the Ol Pejeta Conservancy’s mission. The special scheme aims to identify and monitor key variables necessary to maintain healthy trends in both habitat and wild animal species.
As the largest Black rhino sanctuary in East Africa, it has reached a population milestone of 100 black rhinos. It also houses three of the five remaining Northern white rhinos in the world, who were airlifted there from the Dvůr Králové Zoo in the Czech Republic. They were placed in the heavily guarded huge enclosure designed to mimic their natural environment. The lone male lives just in the Ol Pejetea Conservancy and fertilization in vitro seems to be next step to save the critically endangered (sub)species on Earth.
The conservancy as a profitable cattle ranch operates a successful livestock programme which serves to benefits local pastoralists and wildlife at the same time: it holds the largest single herd of pure Boran cattle in the world bred in harmony with nature. Through the conservancy’s community development programme, Ol Pejeta provides funding to surrounding communities to aid health, education, water and infrastructure projects. They also support the provision of agriculture and livestock extension services and the development of community-based conservation tourism ventures. Because of that holistic approach, Ol Pejeta is largely seen as a suitable model for current nature conservation.
Plesník J.: South Korean Pyeongchang: Biological Diversity instead of the Olympic Rings
The 2018 Winter Olympics, officially known as the XXIII Olympic Winter Games, is scheduled to take place in Pyeongchang, Republic of Korea, in February 2018. Meantime, the winter sport resort hosted the twelfth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD COP 12) in October 2014. Approximately 3,000 delegates attended the meeting, representing Parties and other governments, UN agencies, intergovernmental. non-governmental, indigenous and local community organisations, academia and the private sector. CBD COP 12 adopted decisions on a series of strategic, substantive, administrative and budgetary issues. Among others, it conducted a mid-term review of progress towards the goals of the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011–2020 and its Aichi targets, launching the Fourth Global Biodiversity Outlook. Undoubtedly, the Nagoya Protocol was among the main topic in Pyeongchang, as delegates celebrated its entry into force on October 12, 2014, with 54 ratifying countries. The objective of the Nagoya Protocoil is the fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising from the utilization of genetic resources, including by appropriate access to genetic resources and by appropriate transfer of technologies, taking into account all rights over those resources and to technologies, and by appropriate funding, thereby contributing to the conservation of biodiversity and the sustainable use of its components. The other issues debated in Pyeongchang include, inter alia, marine and coastal biodiversity, sustainable wildlife management, invasive alien species, synthetic biology and ecosystem conservation and restoration.