Čtvrtě National Nature Reserve

Čtvrtě NNR was established in 1989 on a territory of 95 ha with a buffer zone of nearly 20 ha. The subjects of the protection in the reserve are natural forest communities, especially oak-hornbeam-Cornelian cherry stands with gromwells, oakwoods with white cinquefoil (Potentila alba) and spring area alder-ash stands with the occurrence of rare and protected plant species such as spring snowflake (Leucojum vernum), the helleborine Epipactis microphylla and other grove flowers and orchids.

The NNR lies in the Středočeský kraj - Central Bohemian region on a south-facing slope between the villages of Studce and Mcely. The elevations range from 220 – 270 metres above sea level. The geological substrate on the upper part of the slopes consists of acidic and permeable sands and gravels of the Jizera river terraces, while the lower part of the slopes are built on impermeable cretaceous marlstones and calcareous claystones. On the border of these two strata we can find an aquifer with areas of concentrated groundwater discharge. The soils are arenic combisols, histosols and gleysols. The area lies on the border of the warm, dry Labe valley climate district and the cooler and damper Jabkenice plateau. The territory has a variety of microclimatic conditions from inversion areas around the springs and in stream valleys to warm, dry, south-facing slopes.

Around the springs and in the stream valleys, ash-alder alluvial stands have developed with the dominant alder (Alnus glutinosa). The striking spring aspect is formed by carpets of spring snowflake (Leucojum vernum). The south and south-west facing slopes are covered with thermophilous oakwoods, which are also home to several orchid species. The population of lady orchid (Orchis purpurea) numbers several hundred individuals. This is probably the only locality in the Czech Republic where the helleborine Epipactis microphylla currently grows. We can find red helleborine (Cephalathera rubra) and white helleborine (Cephalanthera damasonium), violet helleborine (Epipactis purpurata) and lesser butterfly orchid (Platantera bifolia) scattered through the reserve. Other orchid species also grew here in the past but haven’t been confirmed here in the last decade. Adicophilous oakwoods are more common on the upper terrace in the northern part of the reserve, whereas oak-hornbeam stands cover a small area near Mcely.

Rarer animal species which live in the reserve include the sand lizard (Lacerta agilis) is found in the forests and the agile frog (Rana dalmatina) which lives on the edge of the NNR close to the Mcely water reservoir. Notable bird species which nest in the reserve or its proximity include the sparrowhawk (Accipiter nisus), woodlark (Lullula arborea), golden oriole (Oriolus oriolus) and the wryneck (Jynx torquilla). A mollusc of significance is the boreo-alpine whorl snail Vertigo substriata. Complex research into the insect populations in the reserve has not been carried out.

Two Tree Monuments can also be found within the reserve, a massive beech (Fagus sylvatica) and an old, spreading Cornelian cherry (Cornus mas).

A fortified settlement of the people of the Lusatian culture from the Late Stone Age lay in the west of the territory and remains of the semi-circular earth bank defences can still be seen today. Man has had a continual influence on this area throughout the historic period. At the beginning of the 20th century the forests were still used as coppice stands (branches cut for firewood). The age-group of trees more than 100 years old is missing from the reserve. In the youngest age groups of trees, which were planted just before the NNR was declared, the original near-natural species composition was replaced by cultural Scots pine stands (Pinus sylvestris), and the geographically non-native species – European larch (Larix decidua), black walnut (Juglans nigra) and others.