Žebračka National Nature Reserve

Žebračka NNR was declared in 1949 and lies on the right bank of the Bečva river on the north-eastern edge of the town of Přerov in the Olomoucký kraj – Olomouc Region. The Žebračka NNR currently covers 234 ha. The main subject of the protection is the complex of predominantly forested ecosystems (alluvial forests and the Strhanec stream and their transformation into other types of mixed deciduous forest). These forests are bound to the relief and the geological substrates of the Bečva river terrace and contain wild plant and animal communities with typical and endangered species and a high species diversity.

The Žebračka NNR belong to the Outer Carpathians geomorphological province. The relief is flat with depressions in places which are dry all year or only occasionally water-filled, although these were originally flowing water channels connected to the Bečva river.

The reserve lies on the valley terrace of the Bečva river, which is formed of sands and gravels of Pleistocene to Holocene age, which are covered with flood-plain loams. The Quaternary sediments are underlain by Neogene sediments of Lower Badenian age. The upper part of this unit includes sandy marls, calcareous clays and sands. The basement of the Neogene sedimentary complex is formed of Paleozoic rocks of Devonian to Lower Carboniferous age.

The NNR belongs to the T2 warm climatic region. The mean annual air temperature is 8.4ºC and average precipitation is 627 mm.

The NNR is drained by the Bečva river which has a regulated flow and channel. The Strhanec canal (built for the electric generating plant) is a small unregulated water flow and flows through the western part of the reserve.

Žebračka NNR represents a unique remnant of the originally extensive alluvial forests on the alluvial plain of the Morava river. Some parts of the reserve have a near natural tree species composition which has developed here without human intervention and is formed of old oaks (Quercus sp.), limes (Tilia sp.), sycamore (Acer pseudoplatanus), Norway maple (Acer platanoides) and hornbeam (Carpinus betulus), while in damper places the predominant trees are ash (Fraxinus excelsior), alders (Alnus sp.), poplars (Populus sp.) and willows (Salix sp.). Conifers which grow here include European larch (Larix decidua) and unsuitable spruce (Picea) and pine (Pinus) in places. The shrub layer is very well developed and is comprised predominantly of dogwood (Cornus sanguinea), hazel (Corylus avellana) and bird cherry (Prunus padus). The herb layer is comprised of species which are typical for alluvial forests on the border between the Carpathian, Pannonian and Central European regions. Typical representatives are purple toothwort (Dentaria glandulosa), coralroot (Dentaria bulbifera), lungwort (Pulmonaria officinalis), lily of the valley (Convallaria majalis), yellow star of Bethlehem (Gagea lutea) and Hacquetia epipactis. The dominant plant in late spring is ramsons (Allium ursinum), which characterizes the whole area with its appearance and aroma.

The reserve lies on a crossroads of birds migratory routes and many species also nest here. Interesting and relatively rare species which nest here include black stork (Ciconia nigra), little grebe (Tachybaptus ruficollis), honey buzzard (Apis pernivorus), crakes (Porzana sp.), kingfisher (Alcedo atthis) and others. Specially protected mammal species which live in the reserve include greater mouse-eared bat (Myotis myotis), the grey long-eared bat (Plecotus austriacus), lesser horseshoe bat (Rhinolophus hipposideros) and the fat dormouse (Glis glis). Several very interesting mollusc species are found here too. While Perforatella bidentata of the Hygromiidae is at home in the alluvial forests, the Carpathian endemic snail Monachoides vicina is a montane species. Molluscs which have been found in the periodic marshes include moss bladder snail (Aplexa hypnorum) and button ramshorn snail (Anisus leucostomus). Two rare freshwater mussel species: the thick-shelled river mussel (Unio crassus) and the painter’s mussel (Unio pictorum) inhabit the Strhanec canal. The rare crustaceans – the fairy shrimp Siphonophanes grubii and the tadpole shrimp Lepidurus apus have been documented here. In the Strhanec canal 19 fish species have been recorded. A whole range of amphibians are bound to the system of water pools, including common newt (Triturus vulgaris), great crested newt (Triturus cristatus) and European fire-bellied toad (Bombina bombina).

The Žebračka NNR and the nearby Michalov town park form a traditional rest and recreation zone for the town of Přerov. A blue marked tourist trail and a themed nature trail lead through the reserve. Žebračka NNR is included in the proposed Bečva – Žebračka Site of Community Importance under the Natura 2000 system.