Czech Republic adds two Wetlands of International Importance
The Ramsar List of Wetlands of International Importance has grown to 2,053 sites with the Czech Republic's designation of two significant new wetlands. As described by Ramsar's Kati Wenzel, with information drawn from the accompanying datasheets,
Jizera Headwaters (Horní Jizera) ( 2,303 hectares, 50°50'51"N 015°19'32"E) is a Nature Reserve and Natura 2000 (SCI, SPA) site situated in the floodplains of the Jizera River valley in the central part of the Jizera Mountains bordering Poland. The site constitutes one of the largest raised bog complexes in temperate Europe, as well as transition mires and unregulated meandering mountain streams. It provides habitat for many nationally threatened species of flora and internationally threatened species of fauna, including nesting bird species Black Grouse Tetrao tetrix and Common Crane Grus grus. The site is also an important refuge for a number of mountain and peat bog associated spider species and diving beetles.
The site acts as a water reservoir and is important for water retention, flow and flood regulation, and carbon fixation. Human uses include forestry, research, recreation and some tourism. The site is threatened by air pollution and forestry-related drainage. An observation tower, nature trails and information booklets exist. The site is a potential transboundary Ramsar Site with Poland.
Springs and Mires of the Slavkov Forest (Pramenné vývery a rašelinište Slavkovského lesa) in the Karlovarský region (3,223 ha, 50°01'31"N 012°45'35"E), likewise a Nature Reserve, Protected Landscape Area, and Natura 2000 (SCI) site, is situated in the Slavkov forest highlands and composed of two parts, consisting of raised bogs, forested peat bogs, transition mires, wet meadows and mineral springs. The site is home to many threatened species of flora, mainly fen and bog associated, but also including Cerastium alsinifolium which is endemic to this area. One of the most threatened butterflies in Europe, Marsh Fritillary Euphydryas aurinia occurs here as well as the threatened fish species Bullhead Cottus gobio. It also is a nesting site for internationally threatened species of birds, including Corncrake Crex crex.
The site is important for groundwater recharge, water retention and flood protection. It is also a resource for mineral water and an important spa region for Central Europe. Other human uses include forestry, recreation and research. Drainage, the introduction of invasive alien species, and changes in land use, especially re-allotment of land, are threatening the site. Nature trails and information booklets exist and an information centre is in preparation.
The Czech Republic now has 14 Ramsar Sites, covering 60,207 hectares.
Jizera Headwaters (Horní Jizera). Photos: Vladimir Vršovský (Administration of the PLA Jizerské Mountains)
Springs and Mires of the Slavkov Forest. Photos: Dr Přemysl Tájek (Administration of the PLA Slavkovský les)