Rovná National Nature Monument

The Rovná NNM was declared in 1972 on an area of 216ha and protects a damp meadow which lies on the north-west bank of the Rovenský rybník Fishpond, 750m north-west of the village of Rovná u Strakonic in the Jihočeský kraj - South Bohemian Region. The subject of the protection are mesophilous and mesohygrophilous meadow communities with many species of rare and endangered plants, including the last population of the lowland form of the critically endangered spring gentian (Gentiana verna) in Bohemia as well as a specific meadow insect fauna.
 
The rocky basement belongs to the varied group of the Moldanubicum, which is predominantly built of biotite paragneisses. Lenses of crystalline limestone can be found just outside the western border of the locality. The rocky basement was gradually covered by strata of clayey or gravelly sands, sandy-clayey loams and fluvial loams and finally sediments from the fishpond. The majority of the NNM is covered with typical gley soils, which are influenced by the falling ground water horizon depending on the water level in the fishpond. The meadow lies at elevations between 416 and 418 metres above sea level.
 
The meadow is covered with mesophilous communities of oat-grass meadows (Arrhenatherion alliance), which pass into communities of intermittently wet localities of the Molinion alliance and into short-stemmed growths which are dominated by the grasses- meadow fescue (Festuca pratensis), red fescue (Festuca rubra), false oat-grass (Arrhenatherum elatius), cocksfoot (Dactylis glomerata) and tufted hair-grass (Deschampsia cespitosa), and are accompanied by common meadow herb species such as great burnet (Sanguisorba officinalis), brown knapweed (Jacea pratensis), birdsfoot trefoil (Lotus corniculatus), yarrow (Achillea millefolium), imperforate St. John’s wort (Hypericum maculatum), crested hair-grass Koeleria pyramidata, sheep’s fescue (Festuca ovina), meadow vetchling (Lathyrus pratensis), meadow buttercup (Ranunculus acris) and goldilocks buttercup (Ranunculus auricomus). Very rare species which also grow here are the lesser centaury (Centaurium pulchellum) and adderstongue (Ophioglossum vulgatum). The range of interesting plant species which prefer the wetter sections of the meadow include the Davall sedge (Carex davalliana), greater tussock sedge (Carex paniculata), the club sedge Carex hartmanii, common sedge (Carex nigra), flea sedge (Carex pulicaris), distant sedge (Carex distans) as well as the broad-leaved marsh orchid (Dactylorhiza majalis) and marsh valerian (Valeriana dioica). Several of the marsh group of dandelions (Taraxacum sect. palustria) have been recorded on the meadow recently, including Taraxacum bavaricum, Taraxacum madidum, Taraxacum paucilobum, Taraxacum pauckertianum and Taraxacum indigenum.
 
Several examples of the spring gentian grow on the northern part of the territory and they form the last population of the formerly widespread South Bohemian populations of this species. There are currently between 20 and 30 flowering individuals at the locality. A rescue programme for the spring gentian has been in operation since 2008. This programme was authorised by the Ministry of the Environment and is implemented by the Agency for Nature and Landscape Protection in the Czech Republic and the Institute of Botany at the Czech Academy of Science. The rescue programme aims to strengthen the population of spring gentian by way of suitable management interventions – extensive grazing, grass cutting, breaking up the turf, raking up and removing leaves and old plant matter, removal of competitive non-indigenous plant species and flooding the territory to improve its hydrological conditions, or even watering the individual plants. The programme may also include “rescue cultivation” of the gentians off-site and replanting gentians which have been grown off-site back on to the meadow.
 
The meadow is home to common hygrophyte animal species but also to certain beetle species which are characteristic for drier, short-stemmed meadows, such as the ground beetle Syntomus truncatellus or the ladybird beetles Tytthaspis sedecimpunctata and Scymnus femoralis. The leaf-mining fly Phytomyza soenderupi, which develops in the leaves of the marsh-marigold, is only known at this locality and at several others in central Europe. Other rare representatives of the Diptera are the long-legged fly Rhaphium zetterstedti and the black scavenger fly Themira annulipes. An abundance of the European chinch bug (Ischnodema sabuleti) is typical for the meadow at Rovná NNM.
 
The territory was previously used as common grazing land and part of the meadow was used until 1965 as an occasional village football pitch. Later hay was cut on the meadow at irregular intervals, usually only once a year. This led to the development of tall-stemmed grasses and a gradual decline in the spring gentian population. At the beginning of the 1980s there were estimated to be around 500 flowering individuals here. In three consecutive years in the early 1980s mineral fertilizers were spread over the whole meadow by the local agricultural co-operative. Even though the fertilizer granules were collected and removed almost immediately by members of the Czech Union for Nature Conservation, the gentian was almost driven to extinction. In 1995 the area where the gentians grow was fenced off and special measures to strengthen its population are carried out within the fenced off area (see above). The rest of the monument is regularly cut by hand twice a year.