Pastviště u Fínů National Nature Monument

Pastviště u Fínů NNM was declared in 1985 on an area of 4.19ha at elevations of 590-670 metres above sea level. The protected area belongs to the foothills of the Šumava mountain range and to the Sušická vrchovina Hilly Land. The monument exists to protect a complex of meadows and pasturelands with corridors of trees and bushes and lies around 1 km north-east of the hamlet of Albrechtice in the Plzeňský kraj – Plzeň Region. The subject of the protection are pasturelands with the occurrence of autumn lady’s tresses (Spiranthum spiralis) and the Bohemian polymorphous gentian (Gentianella praecox subsp. bohemica), peaty fen meadows, a meadow spring and damp hand cut meadows with the occurrence of the marsh dandelion (Taraxacum sec. palustria). The whole territory of the Pastviště u Fínů NNM and its buffer zone has been included in the European list of Natura 2000 localities as a part of the proposed Site of Community Importance of the same name.
 
The geological basement is built of leaf gneisses and paragneisses of the Moldanubicum, which are covered by a Quaternary layer of loamy and loamy-rocky talus. The majority of the monument is covered by brown soils – predominantly acidic Cambisol, with a mosaic of pseudogley, gley and organic soils in damp and waterlogged positions. The territory lies on a north-east facing slope and is drained by an unnamed right bank tributary of the Podmokelský potok Stream. The territory belongs to a mildly warm region, with a mean annual temperature of 7°C and mean annual precipitation of 700mm.
 
The vegetation in the protected area displays a great diversity of plant communities ranging from damp to mesophilous meadows, subxerophilous communities, pastures, springs, peatbogs and other growths.
 
The pastures, which are the most valuable biotope in the NNM, are the home of the critically endangered autumn lady’s tresses (Spiranthes spiralis). They consist of a varied phytocenological mosaic of short-stemmed growths which belong to many associations, including Jasiono montanae-Festucetum ovinae, Polygato-Nardetum, Thymo-Festucetum ovinae and Trifolio-Festucetum rubrae.
 
The peaty fen meadows are an important aspect of the vegetation, which react to the composition in the local basal geological basement. Here we can find the Willemetio-Caricetum paniceae and Sphagno warnstorfiani-Caricetum davallianae associations.
 
The meadow springs are represented by growths of large bittercress (Cardamine amara), brooklime (Veronica beccabunga), wood club-rush (Scirpus sylvaticus) etc. This vegetation is difficult to classify but is nearest to the Calthion alliance. In the past the emerging spring water was drained away by a network of shallow surface channels but now most of the water soaks into the surrounding vegetation.
The damp hay meadows currently lie on the border of the monument and its buffer zone. Depending on the height of the surface and subsurface water table, the vegetation forms a mosaic of the Calthenion, Filipendulenion and Molinion caeruleae alliances (sub-alliances), in the Polygono-Cirsietum palustris, Chaerophyllo hirsuti-Calthetum, Lysimachio vulgaris-Filipenduletum, Junco-Molinietum caerulae and Scorzonero-Molinietum caerulae associations.
 
The species diversity of vascular plants and mosses at Pastviště u Fínů NNM is exceptional as 261 vascular plant species have been recorded here, of which 22 species are classified as endangered. The territory is the only current locality for the autumn lady’s tresses (Spiranthes spiralis) in Bohemia (its only other locality in the Czech Republic is in the Českomoravská vrchovina Hills). Other rare plant species which have been recorded here include the Bohemian polymorphous gentian (Gentianella praecox subsp. bohemica), lesser butterfly orchid (Platanthera bifolia), fragrant orchid (Gymnadenia conopsea), green-winged orchid (Orchis morio), broad-leaved marsh orchid (Dactylorhiza majalis), common butterwort (Pinguicula vulgaris), grass of Parnassus (Parnassia palustris) and the moss Pseudoleskeella catenulata.
 
The species-rich vegetation cover and the traditional cultivation methods create suitable conditions for the lives of many animal species. Zoological research in the monument recorded a total of 75 animal species, of which the rare or endangered ones include the buff-tailed bumble bee (Bombus terrestris), shrill carder bee (Bombus sylvarum), common toad (Bufo bufo), sand lizard (Lacerta agilis), common lizard (Lacerta vivipara), great spotted woodpecker (Dendrocopos major), swift (Apus apus), garden warbler (Sylvia borin), fieldfare (Turdus pilaris), greenfinch (Carduelis chloris), goldfinch (Carduelis carduelis) and the red-backed shrike (Lanius collurio). The corncrake (Crex crex) is an irregular visitor to the protected area. Among the small mammals the common shrew (Sorex araneus) lives here and evidence of the presence of otters (Lutra lutra) has been found at the monument.
 
This valuable territory was formed as a consequence of animal grazing, hay cutting, piling rocks on the edges of the plot and minor alterations to the waterflows. The meadows are now grazed and hay is cut here as these are essential to ensure the continuation of such ideal conditions in the monument.