Voděradské bučiny National Nature Reserve

The Voděradské bučiny (Voděrady Beechwoods) NNR was declared in 1955 on a territory of 658 ha and includes an extensive forested complex on the right bank of the Jevanský potok stream. The forests lie between the municipalities of Louňovice, Vyžlovka, Jevany, Černé Voděrady and Struhářov in the Středočeský kraj - Central Bohemian region about 30 km east of Prague. The lowest elevation is at 345 m by the Jevanský potok and the highest is Kobyla hill at 501 m. The main subject of the protection is the extensive complex of acidophilous and herb-rich beech forests with typical flora and fauna. 

The territory is spread over the Mnichovická pahorkatina hilly country and the Jevanská plošina plateau and includes low hills and ridges as well as more rugged terrain divided by unnamed tributaries of the Jevany stream. Interesting periglacial phenomena can be found on the territory. Pseudo-cirques, boulder fields and patterned grounds formed as a result of intensive frost weathering.

The majority of the territory has a geological basement of coarse-grained Říčany granite, within which we can find small bodies of feldspar (orthoclase) several centimetres in diameter, rather fine-grained aplitic granite and small areas of other minerals such as sandstone and shale.

The predominant forest community is acidophilous beech forest with wood-rush with several typical plant species – wavy hair-grass (Avenella flexuosa), white wood-rush (Luzula luzuloides) and few-leaved hawkweed (Hieracium murorum). Smaller areas are covered with herb-rich beech forest with a richer species diversity with nine-leaved toothwort (Dentaria enneaphyllos), coralroot (Dentaria bulbifera), woodruff (Gallium odoratum), dog’s mercury(Mercurialis perennis), mezereon (Daphne mezereum), and others. The streams are fringed with stream alder communities and waterlogged localities are covered with alder stands with remote sedge (Carex remota). Steeper slopes are the home of ravine maple stands with goatsbeard (Aruncus vulgaris), the mustard garlic Allinaria officinalis and others. Natural spruce stands can be found in the valleys and occasionally with an admix of fir, sycamore and Norway maple.

The territory is a notable mycological territory, especially rich in decay fungus, including the rare brittle-fleshed fungus Bondarzewia mesenteria which is bound to the firs and the shelf fungus Ganoderma carnosum. Agaricales (gilled fungi) which grow here include the roundhead fungus Stropharia squamosa, the very rare bonnet fungus Mycena pearsoniana and a small population of the scalycap Pholiota jahnii.

Relict fauna species and significant species from a zoogeographical viewpoint have been recorded here. The species composition indicate that the Voděradské bučiny could be the most westerly element of the migration of beech forest from the Carpathians in the east, whereas the Křivoklátsko PLA Beech forests to the NW from Prague belong to the beech forest type which migrated here from the south-west.

A large number of species of forest butterflies live in the NNR forests, including abundant populations of tau emperor (Aglia tau) and purple emperor (Apatura iris) as well as the rare butterflies dusky hook-tip (Drepana curvatula) and the prominent moth Drymonia querna. A rich variety of xylophagous (living on dead wood) beetles live here – 40 species of longhorn beetles, including the rare Nothorhina punctata, the ground beetle Pterostichus burmeisteri and the stag beetle Systenocerus caraboides.

The stock dove (Columba oenas) nests in the old trees as does the collared flycatcher (Ficedula albicollis) and less regularly the red-breasted flycatcher (Ficedula parva) and the black stork (Ciconia nigra).

Amphibians living in the forests include the fire salamander (Salamandra salamandra), the Alpine newt (Triturus alpestris), common frog (Rana temporaria) and common toad (Bufo bufo).

The forests have a near-natural tree species composition but in fact they are commercial growths and the structure and species composition is a little different from the natural state. The current condition of the forests is largely influenced by previous commercial forestry methods. Since 1935, when the forests came under the control of the ČVUT (Czech Technical University) Forestry school (currently the Czech Agricultural University Forestry School), the emphasis changed from large area management to small area management. Only a small part of the forest growths are currently left to natural development and most are used for regular forestry purposes, but most of the old beech growths are being prepared for renewal by targeted intervention.
 
The remains of several medieval villages which were abandoned between the 13th and 17th centuries can be found in the Voděrady forests. Stone was quarried from scattered small quarries and by removing the boulder fields. A sawmill was built on the Jevanský potok stream and a workshop producing wooden studs for boots a little further downstream but this was closed in the late 19th century.
 
The NNR territory is easily accessible by bus from Prague and we can begin our walk from Jevany, Černé Voděrady, Svojetice or Struhařov. Several marked tourist trails pass through the area as well as an 8-kilometre-long themed nature trail. A network of firm forest roads which are suitable for cycling or cross-country skiing in winter also pass through the forests. The forests are attractive and have something to offer in all seasons – picturesque snow cover in winter, flowering toothworts and birdsong in spring, the trees provide cooling shade in the hot summer and offer golden colours in the autumn.