Ranšpurk National Nature Reserve

The Ranšpurk NNR covers a section of alluvial forest approximately 5.5 kilometres south of the municipality of Lanžhot in the southern tip of the Jihomoravský kraj – South Moravian Region. The NNR was declared in 1988 and covers an area of 19.20 ha at an average elevation of 152 – 153 metres above sea level. The subject of the protection is the remnants of primeval alluvial forest growths (almost unaffected by forestry activity) in the area of the confluence of the Dyje and Morava rivers. The territory is also studied as a model for forestry research.
 
The reserve lies on the alluvial plain of the Dyje and Morava rivers. The basement consists of sediments of the Vienna basin, overlain by fluvial gravels on which there is a layer of sand-dominated flood plain sediments. The oxbow lakes are filled with organic sediments. Several small islands of air-blown sands from the Würm period are exposed on the surface. The soil types which have formed on these floodplain sediments include gleyic Fluvisol and Pelo-alluvial Gleysol with Regosol or arenic Chernozem on the air-blown sands.
 
The majority of the NNR territory is covered with the so-called ‘hardwood alluvial forest’ with dominant tree species: pendunculate oak (Quercus robur), narrow-leaved ash (Fraxinus angustifolia), field maple (Acer campestre) and with a rich representation of small-leaved lime (Tilia cordata) and hornbeam (Carpinus betulus). Species found in the undergrowth include yellow woodland anemone (Anemone ranunculoides), spring pea (Lathyrus vernus), cuckoo flower (Cardamine pratensis), woodruff (Galium odoratum), the orchard grass Dactylis polygama, wood sedge (Carex sylvatica) and in places with more hornbeams – the wood speedwell (Veronica montana). Growths of woodruff are found in the higher areas which do not flood. Fragments of white willow (Salix alba) stands are found around the pools, where they are accompanied by the sedges Carex gracilis and greater pond sedge (Carex riparia) and reed canary grass (Phalaris arundinacea), skullcap (Scutellaria galericulata), purple loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria) and other species. The water violet (Hottonia palustris) grows in the pools. Specially protected species which have been recorded here also include thin-spiked wood sedge (Carex strigosa), the helleborine Epipactis albensis, the summer snowflake (Leucojum aestivum) and the bittercress Cardamine parviflora. The fungi populations, especially decay fungi, which live on the dead and dying trees, are also very rich and notable species in the reserve include Marasmius capillipes, Rhodocybe sylophila and the oysterling fungus Omphalina lilaceorose.
 
Birds which nest in hollows in the old trees include the stock dove (Columba oenas), grey woodpecker (Picus canus), collared flycatcher (Ficedula albicollis) and short-toed treecreeper (Certhia brachydactyla). Several amphibian species have been recorded here, including the Danube crested newt (Triturus dobrogicus). Many rare insect species occur in the forest growths. There is an abundant population of the ant Liometopum microcephalum. The great Capricorn beetle (Cerambyx cerdo) and the jewel beetle Eurythyrea quercus live on the oak trees.
 
The territory of the current NNR has been spared from commercial forestry intervention since the end of the 19th century. Until that time the entire forest complex in which the Ranšpurk and Cahnov - Soutok NNRs are located was regularly used for grazing. The Lichtenstein noble family, who owned the F4037 forest stands regarded the area as a nature monument and did not allow intensive forestry here. The forest growths have a natural species composition, with the exception of a group of black walnut trees in the south-eastern tip of the current reserve.
 
After the building of a game reserve for intensive breeding of red deer and fallow deer in the early 1970 the forest growths were disturbed by grazing, which mostly destroyed the forests natural tree rejuvenation capacity. The NNR territory was fenced off in the early 1990s and the trees are now able to rejuvenate naturally (especially the field maples) now that the deer can not get to them. A negative factor was the regulation work on the Dyje and Morava rivers which prevented the area from being flooded regularly. Artificial flooding of the area has been practised since 1992. Part of the stand of black walnut has already been practised since 1992. Part of the stand of black walnut has already been felled and replaced by oaks.