Razula National Nature Reserve

The Razula NNR lies on the northern slopes of Mt. Lemešná (950 m) in the spring areas of the Hanzlůvka stream in the Javorníky mountain range. The NNR lies between the municipality of Velké Karlovice and the Slovak border, on the territory of Beskydy PLA and in the Zlínský kraj – Zlín Region. The NNR was declared in 1949 on an area of 23.52 ha to protect natural fir-beech growths of a primeval character with a typical tree species composition for the Javorníky mountains including Norway spruce (Picea abies) and sycamore (Acer pseudoplatanus). A characteristic of the reserve is the high proportion of dead wood (deadstanding trees, windfalls and fractured trees).

Razula NNR lies in the belt of the Zlín Member of the Magura Flysh which consists of claystones interbedded with sandstones. Moving downhill, the loam-clay colluvium becomes thicker. V-shaped gulleys are incised to the underlying strata in the central part of the reserve and along the eastern border. The soil cover is of brown forest soils. The NNR lies at elevations between 660 and 812 metres.

The predominant forest type is the herb-rich beech forest with purple toothwort - Dentaria glandulosae-Fagetum association. The main tree species are beech (Fagus sylvatica) and silver fir (Abies alba) with certain trees reaching 300 – 350 years in age. Accompanying tree species include a large number of Norway spruce (Picea abies) with individual sycamores (Acer pseudoplatanus) and ash (Fraxinus excelsior). The herb layer consists of purple toothwort (Dentaria glandulosa), and coralroot (Dentaria bulbifera) and nine-leaved toothwort (Dentaria enneaphyllos), Isopyrum thalictroides of the Ranunculus family and Jupiter’s distaff (Salvia glutinosa).

The territory is also of mycological significance and interesting Ascomycetes which grow here include the false morel Gyromitra infula and Leotia lubrica and from the Basidiomycates: the brittle-fleshed fungus Bondarzewia montana and two “Red Book” species in the Czech and Slovak Republics: the lignicolous fungi Hydropus atramentosus and the milkcap Lactarius acris.

The ground beetles have been studied in a complex manner and typical species found here are Pterostichus metallicus, Pterostichus foveolatus, Pterostichus unctulatus, Cychrus attenuatus, Trichotichnus laevicollis and Carabus auronitens. Endangered bird species which are bound to the near-natural forest stands include the white-backed woodpecker (Dendrocopus leucotus), red-breasted flycatcher (Ficedula parva), black stork (Ciconia nigra) and woodcock (Scolopax rusticola). Evidence of the movements of brown bear (Ursus arctos) is often found in and around the reserve.

The Javorníky mountain forest growths were used for grazing sheep and goats from the 15th to the 18th century. Before the railway line was built in this area in 1908 the forests were mostly felled selectively but later the clear-cut technique was used more frequently with an emphasis on growing Norway spruce. However this primeval forest area was left intact. After 1927, selective felling was again practised and these growths were protected from 1935 onwards (no felling and no removal of fallen trees). A reserve was officially declared in 1949. Long-term studies have been carried out in Razula NNR to monitor the dynamics of natural renewal of forest growths. The first detailed mapping was carried out in 1972 and repeated in 1995.

Public access to Razula NNR is not permitted. Visitors to the area can enjoy the views over the natural forest from the rest stop on the NW tip of the reserve. This pavillion lies on the marked cycle trail No. 6020/4 leading from Velké Karlovice – Léskové údolí along the Malá Hanzlůvka stream valley (where we can see a pool with amphibians) to Razula NNR. This cycle trail continues to the saddle below Mt. Lemešná and into the Podťaté valley where there are a number of examples of preserved folk architecture.