Reiterová L.: The Podyjí/Thaya River Basin National Park – Twenty-Five Years on the Road
Twenty-five years ago, nature conservationists´ long-term efforts had finally been met and the Podyjí/Thaya River Basin National Park was established in South Moravia along the Czech-Austrian border. Within the NP´s territory, coherent forest covers 85 %. Since 1991, the proportion of forests left to spontaneous development has successfully been increased from approx. 20 % up to the current 50 %. A smaller forest´s proportion has been permanently managed for species inhabiting forest gaps and glades as well as for coppice forest growths. Non-forests habitats are also valuable there, e.g. heathlands and steppe fallow land as well as meadows which are now managed, often by grazing. Due to the measures taken, some previously extinct species have returned back, e.g. the Western marsh orchid (Dactylorhiza majalis), Common globeflower (Trollius europaeus), Siberian iris (Iris sibirica), Rock cinquefoil (Potentilla rupestris) or the Large-flowered selfheal (Prunella grandiflora). Usage of the Dyje/Thaya River by the Vranov hydropower station has also been brought into harmony with nature conservation interests and aims. Human settlements in the NP´s buffer zone have been doing well in maintaining their traditional image. By a broad co-operation with the general public, scientists and the abroad, the respected National Park has been developed, being attractive for visitors coming for knowledge, spending leisure time and having a rest there.
Koudelka M.: The Javoříčko Caves –
A Unique Lesser Horseshoe Bat (Rhinolophus hipposideros) Hibernaculum
Caves are among the most important wintering sites for bats including horse-shoe bats. The Javoříčko Caves (Central Moravia) displaying beautiful and rich karst ornamentation is one of the biggest bat hibernation roosts in the Czech Republic. The Lesser horseshoe bat (Rhinolophus hipposideros) is a typical and the most numerous bat species there. The Javoříčko Caves were created inside of the little island of Devonian calcites in Špraněk Hill (539 m a. s. l.) and they consist of three-storey domes and corridors: the corridors which have been investigated yet reach almost 6,000 meters in length. Regular bat monitoring started there in 1990 and its outputs show a rapid increase in wintering bat numbers. At the beginning, two hundreds of bats were occurring there during winter. At present, approx. 5,500 individuals use the hibernaculum. In total, 18 bat species have been found in the Javoříčko Caves. The pleasant fact is undoubtedly related to consistent and effective bat protection. The Javoříčko Caves and their surroundings have been included into the European Union´s Natura 2000 network of protected areas: a Site of European Importance (SEI, pursuant to Act No. 114/1992 Gazette on Nature Conservation and Landscape Protection, as amended later, the term for Site of Community Importance, SCI under the European Union’s Habitats Directive) was established to maintain favourable conservation status in the Lesser horseshoe bat, Geoffrey´s bat (Myotis emarginatus), Bechstein´s bat (M. bechsteinii) and in the Western barbastelle (Barbastella barbastellus) there.
Pešout P.: On Some Aspects of Protected Area Management in Practice (I.). Controlled Vegetation Burning
In the past, fire was often used for management on various lands. At present, intentional vegetation growth burning is prohibited in the Czech Republic. Moreover, controlled burning is in some cases reasonable, e.g. on secondary heathlands. The article presents long-term efforts to change the current state. For inspiration, some examples from various European countries where controlled or prescribed vegetation burning has traditionally been applied are included in the article. Most recently, in 2016 both the General Directorate of the Fire Rescue Service of the Czech Republic and the Nature Conservation Agency of the Czech Republic agreed to establish a task force on the topic: its goal is to develop a proposal for changes in the current legislation and to produce detailed methodology how to apply the controlled vegetation growth burning in practice. Meantime, experimental testing and assessment of the recommended measures shall be continuing. As an suitable example, experimental controlled vegetation burning at the Jordán shooting ground/firing range in the Brdy Highlands Protected Landscape Area (Central Bohemia) is described.
Lysák F.: Outputs of Partial Restoration in Two South Moravian Salt Marshes, with Some Notes on their Management
West of the town of Mikulov (South Moravia), there up to quite recently were salt marshes displaying high species richness in halophytic vegetation there. The author analyses causes of their loss and describes course and outputs of restoration at two model sites, namely at Dobré Pole and Novosedly. In the past, the Dobré Pole salt marsh had been covered by soil. Therefore, self-sowing of woody species was cut and soil removed up to the original terrain level. The measures have positively influenced a lot of halophytic species, but some other species have not been promoted yet. At the Novosedly salt marsh, reed beds had been removed by an excavator. A year after, many native species appeared at the salt marsh, but no halophyte species with specific habitat requirements has been found there. Furthermore, waste and rubble made-up ground was also removed and a restored pool was recolonised e.g. by the Swamp pricklegrass (Heleochloa schenoides). Grazing has started there and some willows were cut off. Sheep and goats have successfully been reducing reed beds. In the course of the project funded by the South Moravian Regional Office, approx. 0.6 hectare of natural habitat type No. 1340 listed in Annex I to the Habitats Directive (priority habitat 1340 Inland salt meadows) has been restored. When managing salt marshes, special attention should be paid to surface and underground waters, grazing and to influencing the correct ratio between rainfall and mineralised underground waters.
Coufalová D.: 190 Years since the Discovery of the Mladeč Caves
Inside Třesín Hill (Central Moravia), the Mladeč Caves are found, at present reaching 1,250 meters in length, of them 380 meters are accessible for the public as a show cave. The caves are considered to be discovered in 1826 and currently, they are one of the most important palaeontological sites. The Mladeč Caves had been created by ancient watercourses and waters leaking through Devonian calcites disturbed by tectonic faults. In prehistory the caves had been accessible and they were used by humans. Consequently, original entrances were stuffed up and covered by loess. After their discovery, the caves had not been secured against visitors and they were disturbed and destroyed. The fact was registered by Josef Szombathy, then custodian at the Naturhistorisches Museum Wien (Vienna Museum of Natural History), who was investigating the caves in 1881–1882. More than 100 human bones were found there and the most recent research carried out by Austrian scientists confirmed that the bones are 31,000 years old. Elongated bone projectiles on spears, called the bone points of the Mladeč type, are remarkable as well as pendants from 22 teeth of various animals – the latter is one of the oldest evidences of decoration in humans. Large amount of animal bones demonstrates fauna composition at that time. Therefore, the Mladeč Caves are considered as the oldest settlement of the European early modern man, commonly known as Cro-Magnon, in Central Europe, serving as the northernmost “terminal” of modern humans migrating from southern areas to the north, to areas still inhabited by Neanderthales. The Třesín National Nature Monument is a part of the Litovelské Pomoraví/Litovel Morava River Basin Protected Landscape Area. Since 2006, they have been protected and managed by the Cave Administration of the Czech Republic.
Havelková S.: The Act on the Liability for Petty Offenses and Procedures on them
The article aims at presenting main principles of new legal framework for the administrativelaw liability of persons. Effective as of July 1, 2016, Act No. 250/2016 Gazette on the Liability for Petty Offenses and Procedures on them includes long-awaited general setting in ad-ministrative-law liability. The piece of legislation deals with natural persons, legal entities, and individual entrepreneurs. Natural persons are liable if there is guilt or a cause while in legal persons and individual entrepreneurs, liability is objective: thus the guilt or cause is not examined. Moreover, the latter can be acquitted of the liability. The new act also sets up the rules for imposing petty offences including rules of procedure. Since the date when the act has come into force, both present infractions and other administrative offences where the facts of a case are set in Articles 87 and 88 of Act No. 114/1992 Gazette on Nature Conservation and Landscape Protection, have become, pursuant to the new act, infractions. The Public Administration authorities will follow the new act only in the infractions caused after the day the act has become into force.
Hůda V. & Bělohoubek J.: Applying Unmanned Aerial Vehicles in Nature Conservation
At sites inhabited by the Spring snowflake (Leucojum vernum) in the Arba Nature Reserve near the village of Srbská Kamenice and by the Western marsh orchid (Dactylorhiza majalis) within the Vstavačová louka/Orchid Meadow Significant Landscape Element near the village of Libouchec (North Bohemia) using photomaps taken by unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV, drones) in detailed mapping and documenting populations of specially protected wild plants was tested. Both sites have been monitored for a long time and management measures to support the specially protected species have been implemented there. By drones, maps with resolution approx. 5 mm/pixel were produced: they allow identification of objects being in centimetres in size, i.e. individual flowers. Flower location can be measured with high precision. Thus, the record on the state of the target plant population is extraordinarily detailed. Applying UAV, data on some specially protected species can be significantly improved. In addition, the method used is friendly to plants, possessing the minimal risk to them. The photomap also presents information on plant community distribution which can be used in the further assessment. Last but no means least, the method is cheap allowing to more effectively spend finances in nature conservation and landscape protection.
Krejča F.: From Valdimír Homola´s Heritage on Nature Conservation in Speleology
Texts which had been written many years ago are sometimes surprisingly topic and can offer important ideas even today. This is just the case of the article by Vladimír Homola entitled as Nature Conservation in Speleology and dated back to January 21, 1945. Professor Homola was investigating and surveying caves from the late 1930s and was strongly involved in establishing professional speleology in the former Czechoslovakia. In the article he highlighted that nature conservation has to make trade-offs between its goals and technological development, human efforts to use to the greatest extent nature respectively. Thus, nature conservation should set limits eligible to minimalize human intervention to natural processes. At the same it has to take into account effectiveness in such solutions. He also reminded that in caves with rare fauna and flora requiring darkness, human interventions should be rejected or permitted only if they do not disturb the current state.
Pelc F. & Plesník J.: Planet at the Crossroads. What about the IUCN itself?
The 6th IUCN World Conservation Congress, held in Honolulu, Hawai´i, the. U.S.A. on 1–10 September, 2016, was organised by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and was attended by more than 10,000 participants from 192 countries including the Czech Republic. Shortly before launching the event, U.S. President Obama announced to expand the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument, a part of the Hawai´i Islands – now the largest protected area in the world. Traditionally, the congress consisted of two parts, the Forum and Members’ Assembly. The Forum, a hub of public debate brought together people from all walks of life to discuss the world’s key nature conservation and sustainable development related issues. The Members´ Assembly adopted the Hawai'i Commitments which outlines opportunities to address some of the greatest challenges facing nature conservation and calls for a commitment to implement them, paying special attention to making our patterns of production and consumption more sustainable. More than 100 motions were adopted by IUCN Members, e.g. that on closure of domestic markets for elephant ivory, the urgency of protecting the high seas, the need to protect primary forests, no-go areas for industrial activities within protected areas and an official IUCN policy on biodiversity off-sets. One motion deals with proportion of the Šumava/Bohemian Forest Mts. National Park (the Czech Republic) territory to be left for spontaneous development. IUCN Members also approved a new programme for IUCN for the next four years and elected new IUCN leadership. The authors suggest that there is no time left to consider changing the way how the IUCN operates to better reflect changes both in human society and natural world and maintain the IUCN´s role as a widely respected global nature conservation think tank.
Plesník J. & Ucová S.: Decline in Wild Lion Numbers Has Been Continuing. Will We Be Able to Stop It?
The wild lions (Panthera leo) have been declining both in numbers and distribution range in Africa. The lion population is inferred to have undergone a reduction of approx. 42 % over the last 22 years. According to the most recent estimation, the extant lion range (areas reasonably confident that lions persist based on recent records) is 8 percent of the species historical range in Africa. The experts have greater confidence in an estimate of closer to 20,000 wild lions across the whole continent than in a number over 30,000. The main threats to lions are indiscriminate killing (primarily as a result of retaliatory or pre-emptive killing to protect livestock) and prey base depletion, particularly large ungulates. Large-scale habitat loss and conversion has led to a number of subpopulations becoming small and isolated. If trophy hunting of lions is a part of a scientifically based management programme, it can provide considerable benefits to the species by reducing or removing incentives to kill lions in retaliation for livestock losses, and by conversions of lion habitat to agriculture. At the same time, it has caused some local extinction in the mammalian predator. Killing an iconic lion male nick-named Cecil in July 2015 raised huge awareness of trophy hunting and the future of African megafauna among the general public across the world and provoked an unprecedented global public media reaction. During canned hunting carried out particularly in South Africa, captive-bred, often hand-reared lions are confined in enclosed spaces on farms or private hunting reserves, guaranteeing “hunters” easy trophies in exchange for fees. In addition, there appears to be increasing interest in the use of African lion bone in Asian traditional medicine. According the authors, the species can be saved when applying the similar approach like in the case of the Tiger.