Radostínské rašeliniště National Nature Reserve

Radostínské rašeliniště NNR (Radostín peatbogs) lies approximately 1 km north-east of the municipality of Radostín in the parishes of Vojnův Městec and Radostín u Vojnova Městce at elevations of 618 – 622 metres above sea level. The reserve covers an area of 30.51 ha with a buffer zone of 35.08 ha and lies within the Žďárské vrchy PLA and the kraj Vysočina – Bohemian-Moravian Highlands Region. The territory has been protected since 1987.

The peatbog of the transitional raised bog type has formed on the flat watershed with bifurcation of water to the Sázava and Doubrava rivers with the occurrence of many rare and protected plant and animal species. Natural secondary succession of the peat communities is in progress on the section where peat was formerly extracted.

The basement in the Dářská brázda depression is built of glauconitic sandstones and marlstones of the Dlouhá mez spur of the Bohemian Creataceous Basin with a covering of sand- and clay-dominated Quaternary sediments. The transitional raised peatbog was formed on top of the older fen layers which had formed when the shallow Preboreal lake became filled with acidic raised-bog peat containing sphagnum moss, cottongrass and various tree remnants which had formed during the cold, damp climate of the Atlantic period. The territory is a part of the second largest peat seam in the Dářská “březina” area and has an estimated volume of 2.176 million m³ of peat on an area of 107 ha. The depth of the peat layer in the reserve is up to 326 cm.

The plant communities on the deep peat belong to the Sphagnion medii and the primary climax vegetation is of the Vaccinio uliginosi-Pinetum association with Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris) and its hybrids with bog pines (Pinus × digenea) with Norway spruce (Picea abies) and downy birch (Betula pubescens) also in the tree mix. Rich shrub vegetation is found in the undergrowth with bilberry (Vaccinium myrtillus), bog whortleberry (Vaccinium uliginosum), cranberry (Oxycoccus palustris), heather (Caluna vulgaris) and tufts of hare’s-tail cottongrass (Eriophorum vaginatum). Due to the previous peat extraction, a mosaic of secondary development stages of peat vegetation is found among the primary natural peatbog communities. The type of natural succession of the areas where peat was extracted differs according to the height of the sub-surface water table. Here we can find sphagnum moss areas (Sphagnum cuspidatum, Sphagnum recurvum and others) and sedge-sphagnum moss growths in the Eriophoro vaginati-Sphagnetum recurvi and occasionally Andromedo polifoliae-Sphagnetum magellanici associations, which are fringed by the Caricion fuscae communities, merging into the short-stemmed communities of the Violion caninae on higher, drier ground.  Bankside tall sedge-reed growths of the Phragmito-Magnocaricetea (especially Caricion gracilis alliance) can be found on the banks of the Malé Dářko pond. Other notable species which grow here include slender sedge (Carex lasiocarpa), round-leaved sundew (Drosera rotundifolia), marsh andromeda (Andromeda polifolia), marsh cinquefoil (Comarum palustre), grass of Parnassus (Parnassia palustris), lesser bladderwort (Utricularia minor), tufted loosestrife (Naumburgia thyrsiflora), lousewort (Pedicularis sylvatica), marsh lousewort (Pedicularis palustris), the starwort Callitriche hermaphroditica, flat-sedge (Blysmus compressus), heath rush (Juncus squarrosus) and others.

A whole range of invertebrates are bound to the preserved peatbog communities and more than 500 butterfly species have been recorded here, including the tyrphobionts: the webworm Athrips pruinosellus, light knot-grass moth (Acronicta menyanthidis),large ear moth  Amphipoea lucens, the peatbog butterflies – cranberry blue (Vacciniina optilete), large heath (Coenonympha tullia), the geometrids: chevron moth (Eulithis testata) and Arichanna melanaria, as well as many species bound to wet meadows and marshes such as round-winged muslin (Thumatha senex), marsh oblique barred moth (Hypenodes humidali)s, the wainscot moth (Mythimna straminea) and the rare geometrid: Devon carpet (Lampropteryx otregiata). The moorland clouded yellow (Colias palaeno) used to be common here but has not been recorded recently. The territory is inhabited by the ground beetles Carabus linnei, Carabus auronitens, Carabus glabratus, Pterostichus burmeisteri, the ants Formica picea and Formica lugubris, the spiders Araniella opisthographa, Pirata piscatorius and Pirata uliginosus. This is one of only 4 places in Moravia where the white-faced dragonfly (Leucorrhinia dubia) has been found.

Strong populations of the amphibians – common frog (Rana temporaria), edible frog (Rana esculenta), moor frog (Rana arvalis), and common toad (Bufo bufo) with smaller numbers of Alpine newt (Triturus alpestris) and common tree-frog (Hyla arborea) are found here. Common reptile species are the viviparous lizard (Zootoca vivipara) and slowworm (Anguis fragilis) with smaller numbers of adder (Vipera berus). Nesting bird species in the reserve include black woodpecker (Dryocopus martius), tawny owl (Strix aluco), snipe (Gallinago gallinago), meadow pipit (Anthus pratensis), whinchat (Saxicola rubetra), dunnock (Prunella modularis) and red-backed shrike (Lanius collurio). Until the 1980s a permanent population of black grouse (Tetrao tetrix) lived in the reserve. Mammals which live here include common shrew (Sorex araneus), pygmy shrew (Sorex minutus), European water shrew (Neomys fodiens), field vole (Microtus agrestis), hazel dormouse (Muscardinus avellanarius) and others.

The forest stands on the peatbog are classified as protection forests and are left to natural development. The secondary succession stands on the former peat extraction areas are classified as a non-forested area and are cut back when necessary to stop these opportunistic trees from endangering the populations of protected plant and animal species. Woody vegetation is not able to develop in the water-filled peat depressions and these growths gradually die off.

The Malé Dářko fishpond was founded here in medieval times. Up to the First World War peat was extracted from the bog and the flooded extraction areas were then filled with layers of peat which was washed into them and natural succession processes of the peatbog communities took place here. At present the protection conditions are broken by unauthorised entrance by cranberry collectors and small-scale cases of peat extraction along the road which runs through the lower part of the reserve. The wetlands with tall sedge growths around the banks of the Malé Dářko pond are left without intervention and extensive fish-farming is permitted in the buffer zone, without affecting the water regime and without using chemical preparations and fertilisers. The peatbog is a notable object of scientific study and a number of testing areas for biomonitoring of the protected area have been established. Radostínské rašeliniště is a part of the unique Supraregional Biocentre under the Territorial System of Ecological Stability. Public access is permitted along the Dářko themed nature trail.