Pluhův bor National Nature Reserve

Pluhův bor NNR was declared in 1969 on an area of 87.23 ha at elevations of 662 – 766 metres above sea level and lies in the parish of Louka u Mariánských Lázní. The subject of the protection is the characteristic serpentinite communities which are bound to the specific bedrock with many rare and endangered plant and animal species.

The central part of the reserve is built of serpentinite, which is a grey-black rock with small phenocrysts of altered pyroxene, veins of actinolitic asbestos and aggregates of talk flakes. The predominant minerals within the serpentinite are antigorite, chlorite, rare spinel and locally bronzite with tremolite. Black-brown opals were formed by secondary alteration.

The fringes of the reserve are predominantly built of the grey-green form of amphibolite. Minerals such as hornblende, but also apatite, zircon, pyrrhotite, magnetite, garnet, pyroxene and plagioclase are represented in the amphibolite rock.

The serpentine rocky outcrops are covered with cambic rankers, ranker-like cambisols and also lithosols. In waterlogged spring areas we can find cambic gleysols with peaty to muddy varieties of typical gleysols in places.

The most valuable protected forest stands lie in the centre of the reserve. These forest stands are classified as relict pinewoods with heather or with heather and bracken. The dominant tree species are Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris) and Norway spruce (Piceo abies).

The small rocky outcrops with shallow soil cover play host to a number of rare serpentinite fern species, including the serpentine spleenwort (Asplenium cuneifolium), and the adulterate spleenwort (Asplenium adulterinum). Other notable plants of the rock crevices and outcrops include shrubby milkwort (Polygala chamaebuxus), spring heath (Erica carnea) and strong population of the endemic chickweed - sandwort-leaved mouse-ear (Cerastium alsinifolium).

On the waterlogged and peaty meadows and in the wetlands and spring areas the dominant species are blue moor-grass (Molinia caerulea), common sedge (Carex nigra) and tufted hair-grass (Deschampsia cespitosa). Other main species which are represented here include chickweed wintergreen (Trientalis europaea), ragged robin (Lychnis flos-cuculi), cuckoo flower (Cardamine pratensis), meadow vetchling (Lathyrus pratensis), great burnet (Sanguisorba officinalis), meadowsweet (Filipendula ulmaria), greater bird’s-foot trefoil (Lotus uliginosus) and a strong population of common butterwort (Pinguicula vulgaris).

Large mammals which have been recorded in the NNR and its surroundings include red deer (Cervus elaphus), sika deer (Cervus nippon), roe deer (Capreolus capreolus) and wild boar (Sus scrofa), while the smaller mammals are represented by European hare (Lepus europaeus), common shrew (Sorex araneus) and pygmy shrew (Sorex minutus). The feline predator lynx (Lynx lynx) is a regular visitor to the area.

Bird species which have been observed in the reserve include wood pigeon (Columba palumbus), nightjar (Caprimulgus europaeus), great spotted woodpecker (Dendrocopus major), tree pipit (Anthus trivialis), wren (Troglodytes troglodytes), chiffchaff (Phylloscopus collybita) and willow warbler (Phylloscopus trochilus), nuthatch (Sitta europaea) and treecreeper (Certhia familiaris). A rarity is the repeated sightings of the hoopoe (Upupa epops).

Suitable biotopes are inhabited by the Alpine newt (Triturus alpestris) or fire salamander (Salamandra salamandra), common toad (Bufo bufo), common frog (Rana temporaria) and sand lizard (Lacerta agilis).