Čantoria National Nature Reserve

The Čantoria NNR covers primeval forest communities on the southern slope of the Velká Čantoryje mountain massif in the Slezské Beskydy mountain range 2 km NE of the village of Nýdek along the Czech – Polish border and in the east of the Moravskoslezský kraj – Moravian-Silesian Region. The NNR was declared in 1998 on an area of 39.45 ha at elevations of 720 – 958 metres above sea level and lies in the parish of Nýdek.

The subjects of the protection are natural forest stands at the fir-beech and partly in the spruce-beech forest vegetation levels, within which all development stages are represented and especially old silver firs (Abies alba), beech (Fagus sylvatica) and Norway spruce (Picea abies) on rocky talus with immature soil. The last example of the yew (Taxus baccata) grows in the primeval part of the growths. Several massive old sycamores (Acer pseudoplatanus) can be found in the southern part of the reserve and they may be more than 200 years old.

The primeval forest growths in the central part of the reserve which are 150 – 220 years old represent a valuable and unique example of forest ecosystems which are practically uninfluenced by human activity. In more open areas the beeches (Fagus sylvatica), sycamore (Acer pseudoplatanus) and silver fir (Abies alba) are rejuvenating naturally, and in places the Norway spruce (Picea abies) too. In places we can see the rotting trunks of old uprooted and fallen silver firs (Abies alba).

The old natural and primeval forest growths provide protection and stabilisation on the slopes and prevent erosion as well as providing a refuge for tree species such as beech (Fagus sylvatica), silver fir (Abies alba), sycamore (Acer pseudoplatanus), the ecotype of mountain Norway spruces (Picea abies) and yew (Taxus baccata). A large part of the terrain is rocky and talus covered which prevents commercial forestry methods from being used. The forest growths are in good health and are left to natural processes. The old growths are able to rejuvenate naturally and only the younger non-autochthonous groups of Norway spruces (Picea abies) are damaged by snow and air pollution.

The majority of the NNR has predominant herb-rich beech forest with broad bucklerfern (Dryopteris dilatata), male fern (Dryopteris filix-mas), the shield-ferns Polystichum braunii and hard shield fern (Polystichum aculeatum), lady fern (Athyrium filix-femina) and oak fern (Gymnocarpium dryopteris). Snowdrops (Galanthus nivalis) and martagon lily (Lilium martagon) can be found in a few places but the willow gentian (Gentiana asclepiadea) is more abundant here.

A large population of the blue slug (Bielzia coerulans) live on the slopes of Čantoryje. We can find the critically endangered stag beetle Ceruchus chrysomelinus here and the purple emporer (Apatura iris) flies over the open forest areas at lower elevations.

Specially protected vertebrates living in the NNR include the fire salamander (Salamandra salamandra), viviparous lizard (Zootoca vivipara) and adder (Vipera berus). Birds which find suitable conditions in the primeval forest include honey buzzards (Pernis apivorus), raven (Corvus corax) and nutcracker (Nucifraga caryocatactes). The black woodpecker (Dryocopus martius) and many other woodpeckers nest in hollows in the old trees. The occurrence of the nightjar (Caprimulgus europaeus) here is of zoological significance. Small mammals which were found in the NNR by researches are Alpine shrew (Sorex alpinus), northern birch mouse (Sicista betulina) – which is on the NW edge of its Carpathian range on Čantoryje – as well as fat dormouse (Glis glis) and forest dormouse (Dryomys nitedula).

The NNR territory, on the SW slopes of Mt. Čantoryje is covered with loam-sand colluvia, often having the character of talus with some rocky outcrops. The dominant minerals are coarsely rhythmic flysh sediments with a notable representation of coarse-grained glauconitic subgreywackes of the middle part of the Godula Member of the Silesian Nappe unit. Only occurring in the northern tip of the territory are the finely rhythmic flysh sediments dominated by siltstones and fine-grained sandstones typical for the lower part of the Godula Member. These rocks are of Upper Cretaceous age. The soil cover is formed of Cryptopodzol and Dystric Cambisol with typical Cambisol at the lower elevations.

The natural and primeval forest growths are left to natural processes as natural rejuvenation takes place here. In the modified forest growths it is necessary to support the rejuvenation of sycamore (Acer pseudoplatanus) and silver fir (Abies alba) by mechanically protecting young seedlings. Our aims for the future are to maintain the autochthonous Norway spruces (Picea abies) and increase the representation of silver fir (Abies alba). As there is only one native yew (Taxus baccata) in the reserve it is essential to protect it and prepare and implement a programme to reintroduce this species.

At present there is no public access to the territory but we are considering the possibility of opening a tourist trail through the centre of the territory.