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Excursion on Wednesday

Departure: 11:00 Albertov 6, Prague 2 (in front of the conference venue), Arrival 17:30 Benátská (Welcome party).
Included in the conference fee. Lunch will be provided.

Želivka Serpentines National Nature Monument

Želivka Serpentines NNM is an area 60 km S of Prague. The site is unique due to the occurrence of mosaic of different habitats and many protected serpentine species. The area is included in the protective zone of drinking water reservoir. The area was fragmented in the past due to highway and dam construction. Consequently, traditional landscape management was abandoned and the site was afforested. These changes led to the degradation of habitats and decline of endangered species, especially endemic Minuartia smejkalii. To improve the habitat quality and increase abundance of protected species, project LIFE for Minuartia is being implemented in the region (2016-2020).

Visited sites:

The excursion will start in the Visitor Centre of Želivka SCI Vodní dům (https://www.vodni-dum.cz/), where the lunch will be served. The inner as well as outdoor exhibition of the visitor centre will introduce water as a habitat for plants and animals as well as for the human society. In the garden exposition, a serpentine rock with developed serpentine vegetation and ex-situ population of Minuartia smejkalii was established. We will visit also nearby dam of the water reservoir, which is close to the Visitor Centre and closed for the public.

After lunch we will move appr. 10 km to the Želivka Serpentine NNM. The excursion will start at an old motorway, the building of which started in the 1930’s, which was later abandoned and recovered by serpentine vegetation. This part has been recently managed by a combination of cutting trees and removing of humus layer to uncover serpentine bedrock. Population of M. smejkalii was enhanced by transplantation of juvenile plants.

After that we will move to a boreo-continental pine forest (Dicrano-Pinion) with high occurrence of Thlaspi montanum. Shaded slopes of the northern and western slopes are occupied by a pine forest with dominant Sesleria caerulea. Upper parts are dominated by Calamagrostis epigejos and C. arundinacea, which are recently being suppressed by forest grazing and mowing. Additionally, we test their suppression by using hemiparasitic Rhinanthus alectorolophus. In the middle of the area there is an old serpentine quarry, which was completely restored by the removal of deposited substrate and developed ruderal vegetation.

Finally, we will go to the most preserved part of NNM, which is formed by the mosaic of vegetation of serpentine rock crevices and crumbling serpentine (Asplenietum serpentini) on steep slopes and serpentine perialpine pine wood (Thlaspio montanae-Pinetum sylvestris) on the south-east exposed, strongly sunlit, rocks. There is a high occurrence of uncommon species such as M. smejkalii, Potentilla crantzii subsp. serpentini (the largest population in the Czech Republic), thermophilic Myosotis stenophylla, Polygala amara subsp. brachyptera, Dianthus carthusianorum subsp. capillifrons or the critically endangered lichen Cladonia stellaris. This part is strongly affected by wild ungulates and therefore several rocks were fenced and population of M. smejkalii enhanced by transplantation of juvenile plants.

Total length of excursion will be appr. 3.5 km. Trail map.


Minuartia smejkalii


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