This page contents short article summaries of the Nature Conservation Journal in English,
published since 2008.
In comparison with the 1970s and 1980s, numbers have been increased in some birds of prey, while populations of other species have been relatively stable in the Czech Republic. Some avian predators, e.g. the Hen Harrier (Circus cyaneus), known also as the Northern Harrier in North America have been declining there.
The Red-footed Falcon (Falco vespertinus) disappeared as a breeder from the country. On the other hand, the southernmost part of Moravia have been recently colonised by a few breeding pars of the Eastern Imperial Eagle (Aquila heliaca). Increasing in the some raptor numbers, e.g. the White-tailed Eagle (Haliaeetus albicilla) or Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus) is closely related to the same process in other parts of Europe. Some birds of prey have been clearly benefiting from legal protection and reduced contamination by chemicals. The main drivers affecting the birds of prey populations in the Czech Republic include natural and semi-natural habitat fragmentation, degradation and loss, increase in agriculture and forest management intensity and disturbance by humans even in previously less used regions. Conservation measures in the field have significantly contributed to improving conservation status in some raptors, e.g. the Montagus Harrier (Circus pygargus). Increasing in some birds of prey numbers, particularly in common ones would raise a wrong idea that they are higher than it should be. Current conservation status in raptors is reflected by the Red Lists of Threatened Species in the Czech Republic as well as by updating the Specially Protected Species List. Moreover, although conservation status in raptors as a whole has been improved since the 1980s, because of their ecological, economic and cultural reasons, special attention should be paid to this keystone wild animal guild by the State Nature Conservancy, non-profit organisations, scientists and other stakeholders also in the future.
In the diversified landscape of the Czech Republic, dozens of irregularly dispersed karst areas can be found. Some carbonate bodies have become bared on the Earth’s surface during almost their whole life-spam and have been almost continuously influenced by karst processes.
From a point of view of geology, other have been developing themselves in a more complicated way, e.g. some isolated karst areasin the Western Carpathians Mts., forming small flasers (lenticular structures) and islets. In a karst in the Kamenice River Basin and in the Železný Brod region, there are the only show caves in North Bohemia, the Bozkov Dolomite Caves. They were discovered only in 1944 and since 1999 they have been a National Nature Monument. The underground system not only harbours the largest lake with a static water surface in the Czech Republic, covering 14 x 24 meters, but they at the same time are the country’s longest cave formed in dolomites. In the cave the microclimate is studied in detail: since 2002, natural radiation has been experimentally monitored in co-operation with the Faculty of Nuclear Sciences and Physical Engineering, Czech Technical University Prague. The caves are open to the public all the year round and they are among the most visited underground systems in the Czech Republic. In 2012, they drew more than 60,000 domestic and foreign visitors.
Pořízek L., Smrž M., Drhovská L., Šenk R., Beran L. & Procházka J.: Mácha‘s Region – A New Part of the Kokořínsko Protected Landscape Area, North Bohemia
In 2013, the Kokořínsko Protected Landscape Area (PLA) shall be declared again and renamed as the Kokořínsko – Mácha‘s Region PLA. Thus, the current PLA covering 272 km2 will be enlarged by additional 139 km2.
A new area named the Mácha‘s Region or Mácha‘s Country after Karel Hynek Mácha, the greatest Czech romantic poet, because the region inspired him to write his most important works of fiction, includes the Českolipsko-Dokeské pískovce/Doksy Sandstones and Wetlands Bird Area (pursuant to Act No. 114/1992 Gazette on the Protection of Nature and the Landscape, as amended later, the term for Special Protection Areas, SPAs under the European Union‘s Birds Directive) as well as five Sites of European Importance (pursuant to the above act, the term for Site of Community Importance, SCI under the Habitats Directive): among the latter, the Jestřebsko–Dokesko Site of European Importance is the most important. The coverage of the total area by forest is almost 80%. Fishponds and other wetlands are also of great importance, having been protected as the Wetlands of International Importance under the Ramsar Convention. Within the area, more than 250 specially protected wild plant and animal species occur, including those which do not occur elsewhere, e.g. the Bohemian Marsh Orchid (Dactylorhiza bohemica). The PLA shall provide some small-size Specially Protected Areas, from a nature conservation point of view considered as key ones (i.e., the Novozámecký rybník Fishpond, Swamp, Břehyně-Pecopala and Malý a Velký Bezděz), with connectivity and the rest of the area with appropriate protection. The most area is a property of the Czech Republic. By 1992, a military training area was there and the public was not allowed to attend there, because of a no-go zone. Establishing the Kokořínsko-Mácha‘s Region PLA shall make the State/Public Administration in nature conservation simpler there and public funds shall be use more effectively.
Vlačiha V., Janda Z. & Obermajer J.: The České Středohoří/Bohemian Mittelgebirge Hills – A Jewel Created by a Fire and Uplifted by a Plough
The České středohoří/Bohemian Mittelgebirge Hills Protected Landscape Area (PLA) was established in 1976, due to its extraordinarily valuable landscape scenery, caused by hundreds of mountains and hills related to the volcanic origin of the whole area.
In addition, the area has been known by the occurrence of many rare wild plant and animal species, particularly those preferring sunny and dry habitats. Because of a relatively small territory (approx. 1,063 km2), high elevation diversification and heterogeneity in soil, climate and ecological conditions, the PLA harbours amazing species richness. It includes not only the species-rich feather grass (Stipa spp.) grasslands, the most extensive in the Czech Republic which had been influenced for a long time by agriculture activities but also hundreds of threatened species of vascular plants, beetles, butterflies, arachnids or birds. There also are natural rock and stone debris or termophilous oak and oak/hornbeam forests as well as wet submontane meadows, the Peregrine (Falco peregrinus) nest sites on rocks and those of the Common Crane (Grus grus) in reed beds near water bodies there. At present, there are 43 small-size Specially Protected Areas: the highest proportion of them maintains geological phenomena or the occurrence of preserved steppe flora. The protected areas network also includes 32 Sites of European Importance (pursuant to Act No. 114/1992 Gazette on the Protection of Nature and the Landscape, as amended later, the term for Site of Community Importance, SCI under the European Union’s Habitats Directive), which partially overlap with the areas protected under the Czech Republic legislation.
Bauer P., Stein K., Kopecký V. et al.: The Landscape Born from Sea – 40 Years since Establishing the Labské pískovce/Elbe Sandstone Protected Landscape Area
The sandstone landscape in northern Bohemia, also known as the České Švýcarsko/Bohemian Switzerland, was declared a Protected Landscape Area (PLA) in 1972.
At that time, the PLA covered 324 km2, followed up by a PLA just in neighbouring Saxony. In 2000, a part of the Czech PLA became the České Švýcarsko/Bohemian Switzerland National Park. Mesozoic sandstones, which had been later influenced by volcanic activities, are bedrock within the area. The current landscape scenery was finally shaped by erosion in the Quaternary Period. In addition to bedrock and relief, flora is influenced by the fading Oceanic climate as well as by human activities. The Elbe River runs through the landscape. On its floodplain deposits, there is the last site in the Czech Republic where the Strapwort (Corrigiola litoralis) occurs. Due to the Atlantic Salmon (Salmo salar) re-introduction into the Elbe River having been carried out since 1998, the PLA was repopulated through the important migration route by the above fish species. Some Black Stork (Ciconia nigra) pairs regularly breed in the PLA and since the mid-1990s the Peregrine (Falco peregrinus) has been also nesting there. The oldest evidence for human presence there is from the Mesolithic period. The landscape scenery had been step-by-step modified by continuing human colonization: the ratio between forested area and those settled by humans had been particularly changed. Later, the human settlements were influenced by the industrial development and expulsion of Germans after the World War II. The later event resulted in destruction of valuable folk architecture buildings and decline in agriculture. In addition to performing state/public administration, the Labské pískovce/Elbe Sandstone PLA Administration provides measures to maintain and restore valuable natural or semi-natural habitats.