Hušek J.: The Jizera Mts. Protected Landscape Area – 50 Years
In 2018, the Jizera Mts. Protected Landscape Area (PLA, northern Bohemia) has been celebrating 50 years since its establishment and therefore, it is one of the five oldest large-size Specially Protected Areas in the Czech Republic. As early as in the very first proposal made by František Schustler for declaring the Krkonoše/Giant Mts. National Park (NP) in 1922, the suggested NP also included the major part of the Jizera Mts. Finally, the Jizera Mts. were declared as PLA in 1968. According to the decree declaring the PLA, the purpose was “conservation of the well-preserved natural environment as well as the cultural landscape with a typical character/scenery and folk architecture”. Particularly in the late 1980s, the extreme air pollution had peaked causing extensive forest dying on the top mountain plateaus: together with the Krušné hory/Ore Mts. the Jizera Mts. became an environmental disaster symbol. On the northern mountain slope beech forests have been maintained, being the most extensive and best preserved beech forest complex in Bohemia. Also due to the PLA, the plain has been reforested and there are good prospects for the forest growths there. Thus, a debate on possible extension of the Krkonoše/Giant Mts. NP by the most valuable parts of the Jizera Mts. has again started.
Hubený P.: Šumava/Bohemian Forest Mts. Known and Unknown Primary/virgin Forests
Only two centuries ago, the Šumava/Bohemian Forest Mts. had been full of primary/virgin forests, growing across huge continuous areas. Some of them had been undisturbed by humans, but other were modified by occasional and sporadic livestock grazing, harvesting tree resin or charring wood coal. In the 19th century, the primary forests were almost completely destroyed. According to the records of that period, systematic and effective forest management was in the fact a predatory nature-unfriendly tree logging. Efforts to reduce annual timber harvest planned by forest experts were not successful. It could be suggested that primary/virgin forests have totally disappeared there. The article controverts such an opinion and clearly demonstrates that primary/virgin forests can at present be met at many sites within the Šumava/Bohemian Forest Mts.
Krása A.: Road Stretches Where Amphibians Are Killed by Traffic
Mortality on roads caused by traffic has been influencing much wildlife, but amphibians are among those most seriously affected. In the Czech Republic, two the most common amphibian species, namely the Common toad (Bufo bufo) and the European common frog (Rana temporaria) are most often and massively killed on roadways by cars and trucks. Therefore, measures to mitigate road mortality negative effects have been implemented for decades. Unfortunately, at present the amphibian mortality on roads cannot be fully eliminated and the fact that the issue is only a part of the problem is totally correct. Moreover, it is not suitable to resign to implement such measures but to carry out them in the best way available. The approach has been applied by the Nature Conservation Agency of the Czech Republic for a long time. The article also deals with one of the important tools in this field, i. c. an app open to access and registering road stretches dangerous for amphibians. The map layer has been regularly updated, thus serving as a background for proposing other reasonable and effective solutions.
Jelínková J.: Binding Opinions on Felling Woody Plants for Building Purposes
On January 1, 2018 the amendment to Act No. 183/2006 Gazette on Urban and Territorial Planning and Building Code (the Building Act) amending also Act No. 114/1992 Gazette on Nature Conservation and Landscape Protection, as amended later (the Nature Conservation Act), known as Act No. 225/2017 Gazette, came into force bringing significant changes in procedures having been carried out by the State Nature Conservancy authorities until now. The article follows on former comments and it deals with detailed analysis of issuing permits for felling woody plants and obliging compensatory measures for building purposes located by planning permission pursuant to Article 8, paragraph 6 of the Nature Conservation Act. Together with a significant change in Article 70, paragraph 3 within the Nature Conservation Act narrowing non-governmental environmental organisations´ rights only to participate in procedures carried out by the State Nature Conservancy authorities and new Article 4, paragraphs 9–11 of the Building Act substantially reducing review procedure on binding opinions of the respective authorities for purposes pursuant to the Building Act, replacing the separate procedure on issuing permits for felling woody plants carried out by the State Nature Conservancy Authority only with its binding opinions is really vital. Because the procedure following the new regulations can be in many ways controversial, the author analyses requirements of an application for issuing the binding opinion pursuant to Article 8, paragraph 6 of the Nature Conservation Act, requirements for the content and other requirements for the binding opinion, question related to the review of the binding opinion on felling woody plants and compensatory planting as well as questions related to checking observance of the terms given by the binding opinion, petty offences or needs for cooperation between the State Nature Conservancy authorities and Building Offices. The author concludes states that in connection with the new legislation other controversial issues shall undoubtedly appear.
Chytrý M.: The European Red List of Habitats
Recent years have witnessed an increasing international interest in Red List evaluation of ecosystems and habitats. The IUCN had published criteria for Red List assessment of ecosystems in 2013 and the very first large international project that applied these criteria was the European Red List of Habitats. The paper describes the IUCN criteria and gives examples of their application in the European Red List of Habitats project. A basic overview of the project results is provided, with four Critically Endangered habitats described in more detail as examples of the Red List criteria application. Finally, potential pitfalls in using the European Red List of Habitats, especially at the national level, are mentioned, emphasizing the need for follow-up projects on national and regional Red Lists of Habitats that would assess national/regional levels of threat that may differ from those averaged across Europe. Also, assessments of more finely divided habitats are necessary, because their endangerment may be hidden if they are evaluated only as a part of coarse habitat types.
Halešová T. & Kotyzová M.: Occurrence of Pesticides Affecting Drip-waters at Selected Sites in the Moravský kras/Moravian Karst Protected Landscape Area
The article deals with occurrence of some pesticides, particularly triazine, chloraceatanilide and azole ones, in the Moravský kras/Moravian Karst Protected Landscape Area (PLA, South Moravia). The pollutants have repeatedly been found in drip-water samples from the Harbeššská jeskyně and Amatérská jeskyně/Amateur Caves and can pose a threat to non-target organisms as well as to human health. Although pesticides have been monitored there since 2015, detailed data were gathered only during a study funded from the national Landscape Management Programme. The study aims to find whether and in which ways are pesticides transferred from the surface just to cave systems. The authors confirmed that pesticides have often been applied also in Specially Protected Areas, e.g. in the Moravský kras/Moravian Karst PLA where underground waters have been contaminated by pesticide residues and metabolites due to long-term pesticide use. The study´s results provide background for planned measures in relation to new protection zone delineation in the Moravský kras/Moravian Karst PLA and are an important information source for farmers there.
Nováková T., Navrátil T. & Rohovec J.: Mercury in Forest Ecosystems in the Brdy Highlands Protected Landscape Area
Not much information on dynamics of mercury in the Czech Republic´s environment has been available. Thus a pilot study covering the Brdy Highlands Protected Landscape Area (PLA) situated in Central Bohemia and Plzeň/Pilsen Regions improves the limited knowledge. Extensive experiment datasets describing the mercury distribution in forest ecosystems in the above large-size Specially Protected Area were developed. The results from the Brdy Higlands PLA will serve as a basic comparison for further research either in Central Bohemia or elsewhere. Among the indisputable advances of the Brdy Highlands area has been the fact that due to the military training activities carried out there in the past it is free of human settlements or industrial areas. Therefore, it is a unique relatively undisturbed island of forest ecosystems in the middle of Bohemia. The individual components of forest ecosystems such as forest humus soil layer, stream sediments or stream waters indicate significant impact of bedrock, mining and processing of ores in the vicinity of Jedová hora/Poison Mountain, but also that of the large-scale mining and processing industry based in the town of Příbram and its vicinity. Mercury distribution and mobility in the forest ecosystems deserves an attention with respect to its toxicity or potential bioaccumulation in edible mushrooms or fish.
Ouhrabka V.: On Cave Maps and Mapping in the Czech Republic
Visual presentation as a scheme or a map is one of the principal parts of cave documentation. A high-quality map documentation of caves protected pursuant to Act No. 114/1992 Gazette on Nature Conservation and Landscape Protection, as amended later, is a significant precondition for further speleological surveys and research aiming at assessing cave environment, e.g. microclimate, biota and its other components. Without the map documentation, caves cannot be effectively protected and conserved. In the Czech Republic, cave maps had appeared already in the early 19th century. Speleological surveys conducted in the early 20th century established a specific cave documentation discipline called speleological mapping. At present, cave maps are elaborated mostly by the Czech Speleological Society or by the Cave Administration of the Czech Republic staff. Current technologies allow to develop 3D model of the caves.
Nesládková M. & Franková L.: Possibilities of Strengthening Water Resources: Alternatives to the Suggested Pěčín Water Reservoir
The drought in 2015-2017 opened a debate on building new water reservoirs, including the proposal to build the Pečín Water Reservoir in the Orlické hory/Eagle Mts. The authors raise the issue whether there has been less controversial possibility, how to solve future water scarcity in eastern Bohemia. Seeking for the answer was a part of studies commissioned by the Ministry of the Environment of the Czech Republic and conducted by the T.G. Masaryk Water Research Institute, public research institute Prague. The article explains that selecting the alternatives with the least environmental impacts is the only way which is in the line with the existing provisions and which cannot be evaded. The studies having been carried out suggest that in addition to possibility to build the Pečín Water Reservoir, there are other alternatives to secure water provision, particularly by better use of the existing water reservoirs. The authors conclude that it is necessary particularly to aim at protecting waters against agricultural and industrial contamination.
Zajíček P.: Vladimír Josef Procházka – Geologist Who Climbed Down into the Macocha/Stepmother Abyss 120 Years Ago
The Macocha/Stepmother Abyss (the Moravský Kras/Moravian Karst, South Moravia) attracted both adventurers and researchers at the time when it had not been open to the public. The very bottom could be reached only from the top, preferably from a site where a lower small bridge is nowadays located. According to the historical sources, the abyss bottom was for the first time reached in 1723. The highest number of exploration/survey trips has been recorded there in the 2nd half of the 19th century. Vladimir Josef Procházka, the important Czech natural scientist, also participated in a scientific expedition to the abyss in 1898.
Plesník J.: Shall the Tasmanian Devil Survive Difficult Contagious Cancer?
A contagious facial cancer that is almost always fatal has decimated the Tasmanian devil (Sarcophilus harrisii) population since 1996. Tasmanian devils can transmit the disease, known as the Devil Facial Tumour Disease (DFTD) and being clonally transmissible cancer where the infectious agent is the tumour itself, to each other via bitting during social interactions. DFDT has reduced the devil numbers by >85%, and researchers have predicted that the cancer will drive the animals to extinction within decades. Moreover, despite epidemiological models that predict extinction, populations in long-diseased sites persist. Scientists found that Tasmanian devils have developed some genetic resistance to the disease in just four to six generations. In addition, an international study involving multiple institutions over six years indicated that immunisation and immunotherapy with DFTD cells corresponded with effective anti-tumour responses. Tumour engraftment did not occur in one of the five immunised Tasmanian devils, and regression followed therapy of experimentally induced DFTD tumours in three Tasmanian devils. Building a good understanding of the devil's immune system, which goes hand in hand with the development of a vaccine that shall be tested in the wild can save the largest carnivorous marsupial in the world, endemic to Tasmania.