Accompanying Report on Genebank Collections and the Sowing of White Fir Seeds from Native Populations in the Southwestern Part of the Bohemian-Moravian Highlands
Author: Pavel Pokorný, Czech Union for Nature Conservation in Jihlava & Říční krajina, z. s. (NPO)
As part of the long-term efforts to preserve the gene pool of the white fir tree (Abies abla Mill.), in the second half of the year and at the end of September 2022, we began collecting seeds from important trees or fragments of the native fir population of the Javořická and Křemšnická Highlands. We collected seeds from a total of 12 trees in the forests administrated by the Czech Republic in the Český Rudolec and Pelhřimov areas.
The seed material was collected using non-invasive methods by experienced tree-climbers (Filip Hruška and Petr and Martin Vlček). The material they collected will be sown in specific locations. After seedlings will have grown into maturity, there will be further planting in forested areas of interest.
The first half of the seed material has already been planted (by agreement with the local forester) in a carefully prepared area in the Johanka zone near Kamenice nad Lipou. The second half of the seeds will be used in the early spring of next year due to the current weather (the onset of winter). These areas should be additionally protected and fenced off to prevent animals or logging operations from unintentionally damaging them.
The purpose of these activities and efforts is to contribute in a more targeted way to the conservation of the gene pool of the native white fir population in the region:
In this narrow or symbolic sense, the white fir represents the relatively small and currently endangered fragments of the natural forest of Vysočina. Our activities are therefore closely connected to the mission and goals of Refugium.
On What’s Happening in the Forests (instead of a postscript)
Forests in the Bohemian-Moravian Highlands (and other areas in the country) are now under considerable pressure not only as the result of the progressive decline of homogenous forest stands, which, until now consisted mainly of Norway spruce, but also due to the advance of the bark beetle (Scolytidae family).
The spruce, a noble tree species in today’s cultivated, homogenous, usually heavily managed forest stands, is no longer fully able to withstand the severe stress caused not only by changing climatic factors, but also by the comprehensive depletion of its habitat. The ongoing, intensive logging in the forests of Vysočina, which often requires the heavy use of machinery, doesn’t help the tree’s vitality or stability.
In this situation, the attention of foresters, the public, and the state forest administration should be directed not only to the logging activities, but more significantly to the preservation of the trees’ gene pool and the existing forests, or even the protection of natural habitats from undue disturbance. Unfortunately, with few exceptions, little is being done.
We would like to thank the forest administration of the Czech Republic for its help.
The project wouldn’t have been possible without the willingness and financial support of Refugium, a.s., to whom we owe a great deal of gratitude.