Bukačka National Nature Reserve

Bukačka NNR includes forest stands and meadows on the ridge of the Orlické hory mountain range along the border with Poland, approximately 1 km NW of the Masarykova chata mountain chalet on Mt. Šerlich. The reserve lies in the parish of Sedloňov in the Královéhradecký kraj – Hradec Králové Region on an area of 50.2989 ha at elevations between 960 and 1025 metres and has been protected since 1954. The subject of the protection is the natural mixed beech-spruce stands with sycamore and rowan and waterlogged mountain meadows with rare plant and insect species.

The geological basement is of two-mica gneisses and gneisses. The predominant soil type is acidic brown soil with peaty soil in places; the majority of the soils are sandy-loamy, with stones and boulders, high moisture content in places and with deep layers of humus.

Due to its high species diversity, Bukačka is rightly called „the Botanical Garden of Orlické hory“ and 294 vascular plant species have been recorded here, of which 23 are protected. These rare species include mountain orchid (Leucorchis albida), spring snowflake (Leucojum vernum), variegated monkshood (Aconitum variegatum) and common monkshood (Aconitum callibotryon), arnica (Arnica montana), western marsh orchid (Dactylorhiza majalis) and common spotted orchid (Dactylorhiza fuchsii), round-leaved sundew (Drosera rotundifolia), hairy stonecrop (Sedum villosum), ghost orchid (Epipogium aphyllum), Sudeten bedstraw (Galium sudeticum) and common butterwort (Pinguicula vulgaris). An interesting fungi species which has been found here is the bog beacon (Mitrula paludosa).

Many vertebrate species live in the reserve, including the Alpine newt (Triturus alpestris), viviparous lizard (Lacerta vivipara), slowworm (Anguis fragilis), adder (Vipera berus), pygmy owl (Glaucidium passerinum), black woodpecker (Dryocopus martius) and the mammals: Alpine shrew (Sorex alpinus) and hazel dormouse(Muscardinus avellanarius). Among the insects, the common sawfly - Tenthredo balteata and Pantoclis mese of the Diapriidae are only known in the Czech Republic from the Orlické hory Mountains. Zygota spinosa of the Diapriidae has also been found here, even though it had only been previously found in the Czech Republic on Mt. Boubín in the Šumava Mountains or in the Slovakian Tatra Mountains. The sap beetles Epuraea thoracica and Epuraea variegata of the Nitidulidae as well as the very rare sap beetle Ipidia binotata which is a relict species of the first order and an indicator that the beech stands are of natural origin, have been recorded here. The development of these beetles takes place in rotting wood affected by white mould. The relict gastropod – the door snail Iphigena mucida badia can also be found in Bukačka NNR.

The core area of the forested part of the reserve consists of a beech-spruce forest of primeval character with sycamore (Acer pseudoplatanus) and rowan (Sorbus aucuparia), covering approximately 10 ha. Beech (Fagus sylvatica) is on the upper limit of its range here at over 1000 metres. The surrounding forest stands are of spruce with scattered beech, sycamore and rowan. The weak natural renewal is a result of the harsh climatic conditions and high populations of deer. The spruce stands are breaking down due to the weakening caused by immissions and wind and bark beetle damage.

In the spruce stands which are breaking down it is necessary to increase the representation of deciduous trees and to offer maximal protection to the naturally rejuvenating beeches and sycamores. On the meadows it is essential to cut the growths and clear the cut hay away to maintain the plant species diversity. The popular Jiráskova mountain path passes through the reserve and an information panel on the Okolím Deštného nature trail is also placed here.