Velký Špičák National Nature Reserve

Velký Špičák NNR was declared in 1964 and includes the deciduous and mixed forest stands on the ridge and the peaks of Mt. Velký Špičák (733 m) and Mt. Velké Javoří (679 m) approximately 3 km north-east of the town of Třešť in the kraj Vysočina - Bohemian-Moravian Highlands region. The territory lies in the parish of Třešť on an area of 46.08 ha at elevations of 650 – 733 metres above sea level.

The subject of the protection is the extensive complex of near-natural fir-beech stands and maple stands, with spruces also represented on the summit areas of the Špičák massif. This is a representative example of the native species-rich forest communities of the Bohemian-Moravian Highlands region.

The basement includes metamorphic rocks of the Moldanubian zone. The ridge area of Velký Špičák and Velké Javoří is built of cordierite-biotite paragneiss, which passes into cordierite-biotite migmatite on both slopes. In the summit area of Velký Špičák the relatively gentle terrain of the ridge between the two peaks changes into very rugged terrain with frost-riven cliffs, a number of cryoplanation terraces and small boulder fields. Acidic cambisols of varying depths have formed on the soil-forming substrate as a result of the varying local conditions. Cambisol with a higher humus content can be found on the talus areas around the peak of Velký Špičák. Around the small spring areas on the south-western edge of the reserve we can find gleyic cambisols. The soils are mostly of loam to clay-loam composition, with a relatively high Nitrogen content and without Carbonates. The soil profile maintains a fresh, moist condition for most of the year.

The vegetation cover in Velký Špičák NNR consists of very well-preserved near-natural forest stands which are predominantly of the Fagion (Eu-Fagenion) alliance. The fir-beech stands on the gentle slopes between the two peaks can be classified as belonging to the Dentario enneaphylli-Fagetum association, with the Festuco altissimae-Fagetum association in some places. The talus maple stands around the peak of Velký Špičák belong to the Tilio-Acerion alliance (Lunario-Aceretum association). The predominantly ash stands with a rich herb layer on the north-east and eastern slopes of Velký Špičák generally belong to the Tilio-Acerion alliance. Characteristic and endangered plant species which occur in the NNR include snowdrop (Galanthus nivalis), perennial honesty (Lunaria rediviva), ramsons (Allium ursinum) the fumitory (Corydalis intermedia), yellow woodland anemone (Anemone ranunculoides), moschatel (Adoxa moschatellina), yellow star of Bethlehem (Gagea lutea), nine-leaved toothwort (Dentaria enneaphyllos), coralroot (Dentaria bulbifera), the melic grass Melica uniflora, wood barley (Hordelymus europaeus), hairy brome (Bromus benekenii) and many more. The tree species composition is relatively rich and important trees from a preservation viewpoint are silver fir (Abies alba) and declining numbers of wych elm (Ulmus glabra). It is interesting that pendunculate oak (Quercus robur) and hornbeam (Carpinus betulus) grow here although it is not certain if they grow here naturally. The territory also has a very rich mycoflora – especially of rare decay fungi. Notable fungi which grow in the Špičák forests include Amyloporia crassa, Antrodiella faginea, Antrodiella parasitica and Junghuhnia separabilima.

Research into the invertebrates in the reserve has so fat focussed on the epigeic fauna and the butterflies. From the epigeon there is a considerable proportion of relict species among the spiders (e.g. Saloca diceros and Asthenargus perforatus are relicts of the first order). The isopods, centipedes, millipedes and worms have also been studied and the most important finds include the worm Dendrobaena vejdovskyi and the millipede Leptoiulus marcomannius. The butterflies have a high species diversity with a predominance of species bound to natural fir-beechwoods at medium to high elevation – the noctuid Apamea illyria, yellow-barred brindle (Acasis viretata) and the geometrid Nothocasis sertata can be found here. The butterflies of the neighbouring oakwoods also influence the species diversity of the protected area and mean that we can find thermophyte species of the 1st and 2nd vegetation levels at this higher elevation – the brindled pug moth (Eupithecia abbreviata), lunar marbled brown (Drymonia ruficornis) and tawny prominent (Harpyia milhauseri). A very numerous population of the eye-catching tau emperor (Aglia tau) also lives here.

The vertebrate fauna is typically that of deciduous forests. Birds which nest in hollow trees are well represented and include stock dove (Columba oenas), grey woodpecker (Picus canus), middle spotted woodpecker (Dendrocopos medius), red-breasted flycatcher (Ficedula parva), wood warbler (Phylloscopus sibilatrix), hawfinch (Coccothraustes coccothraustes) and others. Other birds which nest here regularly are the eagle owl (Bubo bubo), raven (Corvus corax) and woodcock (Scolopax rusticola) and occasionally the black stork (Ciconia nigra). Five small mammal species have been recorded, of which the most abundant are yellow-necked mouse (Apodemus flavicollis) and bank vole (Clethrionomys glareolus).

The majority of the NNR is covered with mature beech stands with representation of spruce, fir, sycamore, Norway maple, ash and wych elm of about 150 years in age. The beeches probably grew among older, dense forest stands where later shelter wood felling was carried out. Beeches are rejuvenating naturally in the reserve and in some places ash too, but the seedlings of other tree species are badly damaged by deer grazing. A younger mixed tree stand lies on the eastern edge of the reserve and this grew when a fenced off and clear-cut area was spontaneously reforested in the 1930s. Active support of the silver fir and wych elm populations has been practiced since 1995. Small individual fences are built to protect trees planted from autochthonous material and also natural rejuvenation. Otherwise the stands are left to natural development processes.

The peak of Velký Špičák is a protected trigonometric point. The reserve territory is a testing ground and invertebrates are regularly caught and monitored. Phytocenological monitoring is also carried out regularly. The protected area is accessible to the public along a marked tourist trail.