Ptačí hora National Nature Monument

Ptačí hora (Bird Mountain) NNM lies in the parish of Nové Heřmínovy in the Moravsko-slezský kraj (Moravian-Silesian Region). The monument covers an area of 17.46ha at elevations of 440-573 metres above sea level and was declared in 1970.
 
The protected area lies on the forested slope of Ptačí hora Hill (573m), above the valley of the Opava river on the left bank of the river and around 1km north of the village of Nové Heřmínovy. The monument was declared to protect forest stands which include an abundance of the autochthonous Jeseníky larch trees, which grow in a herb-rich beech forest.
 
The basement is built of the Toumal – Benešov Formation of Lower Carboniferous (Culm) age. This is a flysh complex with a predominance of greywackes, sandstones and conglomerates. The soils are predominately sandy-loamy to loam-sandy, quite deep, soft and damp near the surface but firmer at lower levels. The stone content varies but the gravel and skeleton content in the soil rises considerably towards the summit.
 
According to the geobotanical mapping, the area belong to the herb-rich beech forests of the Eu-Fagion alliance – predominantly to the Viola reichenbachiane-Fagetum association and partially to the Tilio cordatae-Fagetum association. Botanical inventory research indicates that we can regard these forests as a transition between the Luzulo-Fagetum and Melampyro-Fagetum associations. No specially protected plant species were recorded at the monument during the inventory research.
 
Until 1945 these forests belonged to the Lichtenstein noble family and we can still see their influence, especially on the current species composition of the forest stands.
 
On the territory of the monument, which lies in the 4th forest vegetation level, only three forest types are represented. These are rich beechwoods (along with firs and larch) and with woodruff – 4B1, rich maple-beechwoods (with fir and larch) – 4B4 and lime-beechwoods (with firs) and mercuries – 4A1.
 
The forest stands have a more or less normal representation of beech, European larch (of the Sudeten type), sycamore and silver fir. Non-native tree species which grow in these woods include large numbers of Norway spruces and some Scots pines. Native forest tree species also include a few pendunculate oaks in the lowest-lying eastern part of the protected area and a few massive ash trees at higher elevations in the western part of the monument.
 
The fauna at Ptačí hora predominantly consists of typical forest species. The range of bird species here includes a higher proportion of those which nest in hollow trees or holes in trees as these old forest stands offer sufficient nesting opportunities – these include the specially protected spotted flycatcher (Musicarpa striata) and middle spotted woodpecker (Dendrocopos medius). Protected passerine species here also include the golden oriole (Oriolus oriolus). Protected mammal species include the red squirrel (Sciurus vulgaris) and the hazel dormouse (Muscardinus avellanarius).
 
When the invertebrates at the monument were researched it was a notable discovery that two relict spider species have survived here. Spiders such as Hahnia helveola can only survive in natural localities which have not been influenced by human activity. These spiders may indicate the level of preservation of the forest stands.
 
The main importance of the Ptačí hora NNM is to protect the autochthonous population of the endemic Jeseníky larch trees, which grow in the forest stands which a relatively natural species composition. These endemic larches are also the subject of forestry research.