Radhošť National Nature Reserve

The subject of the protection in Radhošť NNR is an extensive complex of forest stands which are typical of the summit areas of the Radhošť group of the Beskydy mountain ranges. The NNR lies on the border between the Zlínský kraj – Zlín Region and the Moravskoslezský kraj - Moravian-Silesian Region. The territory covers a 2.8 km long section of the climatically exposed upper northern slopes under the main ridge line. The territory has been protected since 1955 and the current NNR with a territory of 144.93 ha was declared in 1989 and lies at elevations between 660 and 1120 metres above sea level.

The ridge areas of Mt. Radhošť are built of a thick block of the Godula Member proper. The northern slope, especially in the Radhošťnice spring area is incised with deep gulleys filled with blocks and boulder talus with the character of boulder flows. Most of the remaining areas, outside of the gulleys are also covered with boulder talus and a very thin layer of weathering products. The skeletal brown forest soils change to Podsols at higher elevations.

The largest area is covered by acidophilous beech and fir growths of the Luzulo-Fagion alliance and species in the herb layer include thesmall-reed Calamagrostis arundinacea, white wood-rush (Luzula luzuloides), few-leaved hawkweed (Hieracium murorum), oak fern (Gymnocarpium dryopteris), and bilberry (Vaccinium myrtillus). At the highest elevations we can find montane and supramontane communities of  spruce forest with ferns of the Athyrio alpestris-Piceion association. The Norway spruce (Picea abies), dominates the tree layer along with strong population of rowan (Sorbus aucuparia) and other tree species include beech (Fagus sylvatica) and sycamore (Acer pseudoplatanus). The herb layer is dominated by Alpine lady fern (Athyrium distentifolium) and other mountain species such as chickweed wintergreen (Trientalis europaea), clasp-leaf twisted-stalk (Streptopus amplexifolius) and the sorrel Acetosa alpestris. Mountain tall-herb species also grow here, including the leopardsbane Doronicum austriacum, false helleborine (Veratrum album subsp. lobelianum) and Alpine sow-thistle (Cicerbita alpina). At elevations of up to 800 metres on the gravel-sized talus along the ravines we can find maple stands with perennial honesty (Lunaria rediviva) of the Lunario-Aceretum alliance. These talus and ravine forests are rich in spring-flowering herbs including snowdrops (Galanthus nivalis), moschatel (Adoxa moschatellina), the bulbous fumitory (Corydalis cava) and Isopyrum thalictroides of the Ranunculus family. This locality is also the highest elevation (1000 m) at which the West Carpathian montane endemic species – purple toothwort (Dentaria glandulosa) grows. The Moravian stiff monk’s-hood (Aconitum firmum subsp. moravicum) which is a Species of Community Interest also grows here.

We could encounter the viviparous lizard (Zootoca vivipara) and common viper (Vipera berus) on the forest fringes. Many mountain and forest bird species which nest here include the sparrowhawk (Accipiter nisus), hobby (Falco subbuteo), hazel hen (Bonasa bonasia), woodcock (Scolopax rusticola), tengmalm’s owl (Aegolius funereus), Pygmy owl (Glaucidium passerinum), black woodpacker (Dryocopus martius), white-backed woodpecker (Dendrocopus leucotus), wryneck (Jynx torquilla), nutcracker (Nucifraga caryocatactes), ring ouzel (Turdus torquatus), red-breasted flycatcher (Ficedula parva) and the dunnock (Prunella modularis). In the first half of the 20th century the capercaillie (Tetrao urogallus) was still a common inhabitant of the Radhošť section of the Beskydy mountains and 9 mating display sites were known to exist here in 1958. In recent decades the capercaillie was only seen occasionally and is probably absent from the area now.

Small mammals in the NNR include the eastern hedgehog (Erinaceus concolor), pygmy shrew (Sorex minutus), Alpine shrew (Sorex alpinus), water shrew (Neomys fodiens), southern water shrew (Neomys anomalus), weasel (Mustela nivalis), stoat (Mustela erminea), pine marten and beech marten (Martes martes and Martes foina), European pine mole (Pitymys subterraneus) and northern birch mouse (Sicista betulina). Before 1900 the lynx (Lynx lynx) lived in the Mt. Radhošť area but the original Beskydy population was hunted to extinction and the lynx which returned here after 1912 came from the Central Slovakian mountains. In recent years lynx tracks have been recorded in the NNR. Large numbers of red deer (Cervus elaphus) and roe deer (Capreolus capreolus) live in the area.

The tree species composition in the forest stands displays a number of altitudinal belts. On the northern slopes with the steepest gradients we can find spruce stands shaped by the harsh climate (wind, snow, hoar frosts) in a belt below the ridge. The trees have one-sided crowns, dwarf growth and are frequently cracked or overturned or show the effects of atmospheric precipitation on the annual shoots. Lower down the slopes we can find the oldest beech growths (more than 180 years old) with a natural forest character and with varying heights and trunk diameters. The central and eastern parts of the reserve are covered with same-age beech stands which are 70 years younger. Talus and ravine maple forest can be found on stony soils and around the streams. The NNR margins also include modified forest stands with the unsuitable Norway spruce (Picea abies) at lower elevations.

Intensive sheep grazing took place in the past along the whole Radhošť ridge and this grazing also affected the condition of the surrounding forests. The St. Cyril and Methodius Chapel was built on the summit of Mt. Radhošť in the 19th century and an annual pilgrimage has been held here ever since. In the 1970s a TV transmission tower and a Mountain Rescue Service chalet were built below the summit.

Management of the territory is aimed at removing non-native tree species, adjusting the species composition and spatial structure in the artificially renewed growths, replacing the missing species in the natural species composition and visitor regulation along the borders of the reserve, where large numbers of visitors use the marked tourist trails.