Salajka National Nature Reserve

The Salajka NNR lies on the northern slopes of the border ridge of the Moravskoslezské Beskydy mountain range close to the mountain saddle called Bumbálka. This mountain pass lies on the Czech-Slovak border, within the Beskydy PLA and the Moravskoslezský kraj – Moravian-Silesian Region. The reserve was declared in 1956 and the subject of the protection is one of the most preserved Carpathian fir-beech forests in the Czech Republic, which has been deliberately left for the last 70 years without human intervention. Massive old fir trees are typical of the Salajka reserve.

The NNR lies on the northernmost belt of the Magura Flysh, which is mainly composed of subarkoses of the Solán Member. This basement is covered by thick layers of weathering products and deep brown forest soils. The slope is divided by a number of gulleys up to 10 metres in depth. Salajka NNR lies at elevations between 712 and 820 metres above sea level.

The herb-rich beech forest stands belong to the Eu-Fagenion sub-alliance. The main tree species are beech (Fagus sylvatica) with a relatively high proportion of silver fir (Abies alba) and scattered examples of Norway spruce (Picea abies) and sycamore (Acer pseudoplatanus). The oldest trees here are from 230 to 280 years old. The predominant species in the herb layer are coralroot (Dentaria bulbifera), nine-leaved toothwort (Dentaria enneaphyllos), Jupiter’s distaff (Salvia glutinosa), wood spurge (Euphorbia amygdaloides), yellow archangel (Galeobdolon montanum) and wood speedwell (Veronica montana). Species growing along the mountain streams include alternate-leaved golden saxifrage (Chrysosplenium alternifolium), white butterbur (Petasites albus), mountain shield-fern (Polystichum aculeatum) and goatsbeard (Aruncus vulgaris). Other rare species found here include deadly nightshade (Atropa bella-donna), baneberry (Actaea spicata) and Hacquetia epipactis of the Apiaceae.

Salajka NNR is also one of our most important mycological localities. A whole range of decay fungus which are now generally rare can be found on the fallen trees and include the brittle-fleshed fungus Bondarzewia mesenterica, tooth fungus Hericium flagellum and Hericium clathroides as well as the scalycap fungus Pholiota squarrosoides. Among the protected fungi species growing here we can name the “tarcrust” Camarops tubulina, the wood-rotting fungus Ascotremella faginea, the cup fungus Pseudoplectania vogesiaca and the “oyster” fungus  Hohenbuehelia abietina (typical locality). Detailed mycological research has shown that more than 250 macromycetes grow in Salajka NNR.
The primeval forest growths are a suitable habitat for a whole range of invertebrates, such as the butterfly species Buvatina stroemellaof the Oecophoridae, the caterpillars of which live in the beech mast (Fagus sylvatica), on the Norway spruce (Picea abies) and in the bracket fungi. The Tortricid moth Strophedra weirana develops on the beeches (Fagus sylvatica) and the ground beetle Carabus auronitens and the stag beetle Ceruchus chrysomelinus also live here. Birds which feed and nest in these natural forests include the hazel hen (Bonasa bonasia), woodcock (Scolopax rusticola), grey woodpecker (Picus canus), red-breasted flycatcher (Ficedula parva), black stork (Ciconia nigra), white-backed woodpecker (Dendrocopus leucotus) and three-toed woodpecker (Picoides tridactylus). Mammals include the pine marten (Martes martes), fox (Vulpes vulpes) and occasionally lynx (Lynx lynx) tracks can be seen here.
Until the 1920s and 1930s the largest individual firs in Salajka were felled and taken to the Netherlands for use in boat construction. However the growths have been left without cutting since 1937. Until 1942 one of the largest and oldest trees in the Beskydy mountains, a silver fir (Abies alba) which was more than 500 years old, 194 cm in diameter and 37 metres high stood here. Today we can still se evidence of where “Tlustá Tonka” stood. A number of other healthy silver firs of more than 50 metres in height with trunk diameters of 115 cm still grow here. Management of the NNR is currently concentrated on protecting and strengthening the highly endangered native population of silver fir.

Public access to Salajka NNR is not permitted. However, a yellow marked tourist and cycle trail runs from the Bumbálka mountain saddle along the reserve’s western border. After viewing the reserve we recommend that you continue to the crossing of trails by the Salajka gamekeeper’s cottage. From here you could turn right onto the blue trail, through the valley with sulphurous mineral springs to the Bílé Hunting Lodge.