V Lisovech
peat bog
V Lisovech
peat bog
This charming group of peat meadows, wetlands, pools, and smaller ponds is located in the southwestern part of the Vysočina Region, right on the border between the Jihlava and Pelhřimov districts.

It’s a site with a variety of alternating habitats, all clustered in a very small area. You can literally see the landscape change before your very eyes with every step you take.
V Lisovech,
peat bog
The over 30-hectare V Lisovech nature reserve is located on the edge of a shallow valley near the village of Jihlávka. Doubravský Brook runs through the site, meandering between pools and springs, and connects two ponds named Kačerák and V Nivách.

6 hectares
Peat meadows
Kačerák Pond

Refugium owns just part of this reserve (less than 6 hectares), which, in addition to peat bogs and wetlands, also includes Kačerák Pond. But we perceive our piece of this exceptionally diverse natural mosaic only as it fits into the natural habitat of this entire location.

After the land was made into a reserve, conservationists began to care for it again, but sadly not everything could be restored to its original state. Some of the rare plants that were identified in the first surveys have already become extinct in the area, while others have seen their populations shrink significantly.

In spite of these negative phenomena, however, the site today is one of the most important minerotrophic peat bogs in Vysočina.

The site was granted protected area status at the end of the last century. This was preceded, however, by a painful time when many valuable natural habitats throughout the Czech Republic suffered greatly. The V Lisovech nature reserve had mostly deteriorated due to the disappearance of traditional farming methods, such as mowing and grazing, but also as the result of land reclamation.
It's surrounded by fields that have been crisscrossed by drainage canals since the 1980s. These channels slope downward towards the territory of today’s reservation, which means that a large amount of agrochemicals enter the site as run-off.

Not sure what “minerotrophic” means? In addition to rainfall, a minerotrophic peat bog is also saturated by groundwater or surface water with varying levels of mineral content.
The extensive restoration that took place in 2013 under the auspices of the Vysočina Region was a great help. What did it include?
Kačerák Pond was saved

The pond, which now belongs to Refugium, was emptied 10 years ago. Causing a majority of surface water to become overgrown with unwanted vegetation, its eutrophic (nutrient-rich) sediment was dredged up. The dam, which was in a poor condition due to a hole that had previously been repeatedly fixed, was finally reconstructed.

Ponds and wetlands construction

Small sunlit pools and wetlands were created to expand the range of habitats within the site so that amphibians, select species of invertebrates, and wetland bird species such as the common snipe could thrive here.

Meandering stream restoration

A small, slightly sunken waterway connects a large part of the site and constitutes an attractive biotope in the midst of meadows, favored especially by dragonflies and water beetles.

Anemochory trees reduced

This part of the project consisted of two tasks. The first was the removal of willow shrubs, which were expanding and taking over the most valuable sections of the peat bog by Kačerák Pond. The second task was the more extensive reduction of the trees around V Nivách Pond. In this instance, the important non-forested, open character of this part of the site was restored.

Remedial mowing

During the long years of neglect, on much of the site the valuable peat and wetland meadow vegetation disappeared as more pervasive grasses and trees expanded. It was therefore necessary to mow or cut down these unwanted species, and subsequently get the loosened biomass out of the reserve.

Mosaic mowing

During the implementation of the project, which lasted several years, the site received additional care—regular, careful, mosaic mowing. This type of maintenance is absolutely essential, as it will suppress the presence of unwanted dominant species and give a chance to a wider range of species, some of whom are competitively weaker but much rarer.

In the final evaluation of the reserve, they state that the site is exceptionally rich in rare plant species that dwell in peat bogs, wet and intermittently wet meadows, and foothill grasslands.

Worth mentioning is the large population of broad-leaved marsh orchids (Dactylorhiza majalis), marsh cranberry (Vaccinium oxycoccos), broad-leaved bog cotton (Eriophorum latifolium), marsh lousewort (Pedicularis palustris), or cowslip (Primula veris).

The reserve is also an important site for mosses, especially thanks to the presence of the endangered varnished hook-moss (Hamatocaulis vernicosus), which is protected throughout Europe and whose local population is one of the largest in the Czech Republic.

Prior to and after the revitalization, four naturalists visited the site to examine its condition in detail. This team included ornithologist Vojtěch Kodet, entomologist Aleš Jelínek, botanist Táňa Štechová, and ecologist Filip Lysák, who is currently Refugium’s chief ecologist.

After they completed their surveys, they published a report available here (CZ only).

In terms of the animal kingdom, scientists have confirmed the presence of a total of 75 spider species, 13 of which are listed in the current Red List of the Czech Republic. The same is true of beetles—of the 86 confirmed species, 5 are on the Red List for invertebrates.

Among the 19 confirmed diurnal butterfly species, there are also some regionally very rare ones here, such as the cranberry fritillary (Boloria aquilonaris). It’s a small and isolated population, but it’s the only known population of this butterfly in the region.

The amphibians that thrive in the location include the northern crested newt (Triturus cristatus), the pool frog (Rana lessonae), European tree frog (Hyla arborea), and the common toad (Bufo bufo). Also worth mentioning is the very large population of the iconic moor frog (Rana arvalis).

Furthermore, ornithologists discovered 104 species of birds on the site and in its immediate surroundings. Significantly, the site is the breeding ground of the common snipe (Gallinago Gallinago). This mid-sized wader is critically engendered and needs wet mown meadows or pastures in order to thrive.

Another highly endangered species that breeds in the area is the short-eared owl (Asio flammeus). Its presence here is of significant national importance.

Our first steps as the new owners of this portion of the reserve will lead straight to the conservationists of the Vysočina Region, under whose management the area falls. We believe that, together, we can determine what Refugium can do to help.

As we have previously written, this precious piece of land can’t preserve its valuable properties without regular care, especially without regularly mowing the overgrown meadow areas.
Our plans
Our obligations here also stem from the fact that we are the owners of Kačerák Pond. Although its situation improved after the revitalization in 2013, its condition is far from ideal.

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