Vrapač National Nature Reserve

Vrapač NNR was declared in 1989 and lies on the right bank of the Morava river – 1 km NE of the village of Mladeč and 2 km west of the town of Litovel in the Olomoucký kraj – Olomouc Region. The reserve lies at elevations of 236 – 237 metres above sea level and covers an area of 80.69 ha. The subject of the protection is the occurrence of near-natural alluvial forest ecosystems with a network of periodically flooded side streams which are in contact with the unregulated stretch of the Morava river and with the representation of typical and endangered wild animal and plant species. The existence of near-natural alluvial forests which are still connected to an unregulated river with a natural flow regime is a unique phenomenon within the realms of Central Europe.

The NNR belongs to the Western Carpathians geomorphological province and further to the Outer Carpathian depression sub-province and the Hornomoravský úval graben (lowlands) unit. The valley terrace of the Morava river is formed of sands and gravels of Wurm to Holocene age which are 4 to 6 metres thick, which are covered by flood loams up to 3 metres in depth. Sands and gravels from the period of the Mindel-Riss interglacial are in the substrate of the valley terrace. These strata lie on top of older fluvio-lacustrine sediments from the Mindel glaciation, which are mostly formed of sandy gravels with areas of sandy clays and clay. The Quaternary sediments overlie Neogene sediments, which are 200 – 250 metres in thickness in some places.

The NNR territory belongs to the T2 warm climatic region. The mean annual air temperature is 8.4ºC and the mean annual precipitation total is 586 mm.

The territory is drained by the Morava river, which is unregulated in the short section above the NNR. The Morava river forms the backbone of Litovelské Pomoraví PLA. Within Vrapač NNR, a network of branches with a periodic flow (which are filled with water during the spring floods) are connected to the main river channel.

The natural vegetation in the NNR are alluvial forests. In the tree layer of the near natural stands the predominant species are pendunculate oak (Quercus robur) and ash (Fraxinus excelsior) along with small-leaved lime (Tilia cordata), sycamore (Acer pseudoplatanus) and field maple (Acer campestre), with scattered fluttering elm (Ulmus laevis) and small-leaved elm (Ulmus minor). In the undergrowth we can find ramsons (Allium ursinum), the bulbous corydalis Corydalis cava, yellow star of Bethlehem (Gagea lutea), wood anemone (Anemone nemorosa), yellow woodland anemone (Anemone ranunculoides), snowdrops (Galanthus nivalis) and dozens of other species.

The crustaceans – fairy shrimp Siphonophanes grubii and the tadpole shrimp Lepidurus apus can be found in the many periodic pools. Along with many other aquatic invertebrates, the amphibians are also bound to the pools, including common frog (Rana temporaria) and common newt (Triturus vulgaris). Reptiles which occur here include viviparous lizard (Zootoca vivipara), slowworm (Anguis fragilis) and grass snake (Natrix natrix). A total of 34 bird species have been recorded as nesting here and the rarer ones include middle spotted woodpecker (Dendrocopos medius), black woodpecker (Dryocopus martius) and spotted flycatcher (Muscicapa striata). Kingfishers (Alcedo atthis) and common sandpiper (Actitis hypoleucos) are regularly seen on the Morava river. The NNR is one of the most valuable localities for bats in Litovelské Pomoraví PLA. Daubenton’s bat (Myotis daubentonii), noctule bat (Nyctalus noctula) and serotine bat (Eptesicus serotinus) have all been recorded here.

Vrapač NNR is included in the Litovelské Pomoraví – sever (north) Supraregional Biocentre as one of its core territories as a part of the Territorial System of Ecological Stability. The locality is also a part of the alluvial plain section the within Litovelské Pomoraví PLA, which was included in the List of Wetlands of International Importance under the Ramsar Convention in 1993. Vrapač NNR is a part of the Litovelské Pomoraví SPA – Bird Area and the proposed Site of Community Importance of the same name under the Natura 2000 system. A themed nature trail (following the red marked tourist trail) leads through the reserve.