Zhejral National Nature Reserve

The Zhejral fishpond (also known as Zejhral), peatbog and peaty meadows on the north and west banks of the pond lie 1 km to the east of the village of Klatovec in the kraj Vysočina - Bohemian-Moravian Highlands Region. The NNR was declared in 1982 on an area of 26.99 ha at elevations of 575 – 596 metres above sea level in the parish of Klatovec.

The subject of the protection is the extensive complex of preserved communities of an oligotrophic upland fishpond, reedbeds, peatbogs, peaty meadows, matgrass pastures and developing alder stands in the Jihlavské vrchy hills. The fishpond and its surroundings represent a landscape segment of high ecological and aesthetic value.
 
The basement is formed of granites of the central Moldanubian massif, medium to fine-grained two-mica granites which are porphyritic in places (Mrákotín type). The granites are covered by deluvial sand-loam to stony-loam sediments of predominantly solifluctional origin. Fluvial sediments of predominantly sandy-loam character are deposited around the pond. The pond was built in a shallow spring basin. Around the pond and in areas with a permanently high groundwater table gleysols have developed, which pass into plano-gleyic luvisols and cambic podsols.
 
The vegetation on the territory is relatively varied and the representation of individual plant communities depends mainly on the height of the groundwater table. In shallow water areas (eulittoral) growths of branched bur-reed (Sparganium erectum) and water horsetail (Equisetum fluviatile) can be found, passing into stands of sedges of the  Caricion rostratae alliance as we move towards the banks. Sedge-sphagnum moss growths on small areas with a high groundwater table can be included in the communities of Sphagno recurvi-Caricion canescentis association of transitional mires. Further from the banks of the pond wet thistle meadows (Calthion) and minerotrophic sedge meadows of the Caricion fuscae alliance can be found. Typical and endangered species which grow here include tufted loosestrife (Naumburgia thyrsiflora), bogbean (Menyanthes trifoliata), western marsh orchid (Dactylorhiza majalis), lesser tussock sedge (Carex diandra), creeping willow (Salix rosmarinifolia), marsh valerian (Potentilla palustris) and marsh valerian(Valeriana dioica). The sedge stands of the Caricion fuscae alliance mostly occur in their degraded stages with the typical distinctive tufts of common sedge (Carex nigra). Small populations of hare’s-tail cottongrass (Eriophorum vaginatum) grow on the edge of the wood on the north-eastern bank of the pond. Communities of the Oxycocco-Sphagnetea with a transition into the Nardo-Callunetea with cranberry (Oxycoccus palustris) are developed in an untypical and fragmentary way. On drier localities on the western fringe of the reserve matgrass pastures of the Violion caninaealliance with viper’s grass (Scorzonera humilis) can be found. Scattered groups of trees are predominantly formed of eared willow (Salix aurita) and grey willow (Salix cinerea). The fishpond dam is lined with mixed-species and mixed-age tree stands with black-berried honeysuckle (Lonicera nigra) and rarely the mountain snowbell Soldanella montana in the undergrowth. Round-leaved sundews (Drosera rotundifolia) and grass of Parnassus (Parnassia palustris) grow on the eastern bank of the pond and below the dam (outside the reserve).

Intensive entomological research has been carried out in Zhejral NNR in recent years and 500 butterfly species have been recorded here. The majority of these butterflies are typical peatbog, waterlogged meadow and marsh species. Among the most characteristic are the tyrphophyte gelechiid Neofaculta infernella, the tortricids Olethreutes bipunctanus and Apotomis sauciana, the geometrid chevron moth (Eulithis testata), the noctuid Hypenodes humidalis and golden-rod brindle (Lithomoia solidaginis). From the synusia of the marsh species we can mention the round-winged muslin (Thumatha senex) and the moths silver hook (Deltote uncula) and northern drab (Orthosia opima). The extensive littoral growths around the fishpond are the biotope of the snout moths Schoenobius forficellus and Chilo phragmitellus and the moths large wainscot (Rhizedra lutosa)and obscure wainscot (Leucania obsoleta), which are bound to the reed (Phragmites australis) and manna grass (Glyceria sp.). Characteristic species for the territory are the tortricid Ancylis geminana and the geometrid Hydriomena ruberata, which are bound to various kinds of willows and the rare barred chestnut (Diarsia dahlii) which prefers shrubby biotopes at higher elevations.

The shallow water and littoral growths around the fishpond are the home of many amphibians including moor frog (Rana arvalis), pool frog (Rana lessonae), common frog (Rana temporaria), common tree-frog (Hyla arborea), common toad (Bufo bufo), smooth newt (Triturus vulgaris) and Alpine newt (Triturus alpestris). The birds in the reserve are those which are typical of peaty meadows and wetlands, including the whinchat (Saxicola rubetra), meadow pipit (Anthus pratensis), grasshopper warbler (Locustella naevia), reed bunting (Emberiza schoeniclus), reed warbler (Acrocephalus scirpaceus), snipe (Gallinago gallinago), marsh harrier (Circus aeruginosus), woodcock (Scolopax rusticola), green sandpiper (Tringa ochropus), little grebe (Tachybaptus ruficollis), gadwall (Anas strepera)and many more. Sometimes forest birds such as the nutcracker (Nucifraga caryocatactes) and the mistle thrush (Turdus viscivorus) also fly into the area. The black grouse (Tetrao tetrix) was last seen here in 1978. Systematic study of the mammals at Zhejral recorded 32 species, of which significant ones are the southern water shrew (Neomys anomalus), field vole (Microtus agrestis), harvest mouse (Micromys minutus), hazel dormouse (Muscardinus avellanarius), northern bat (Eptesicus nilssoni) and otter (Lutra lutra).
 
A small grove on the western edge of the fishpond dam is included in the reserve and was included to maintain the continuity of the NNR border. The predominantly pine stand with bilberry in the undergrowth is left to natural development.
 
The majority of the reserve lies within the 2nd zone of hygienic protection of water sources which is the nearby Karhov pond. Fish are not bred commercially in the fishpond and only a “maintenance stock” is kept here. Management of the NNR since 1993 is focussed on maintaining the conditions for the existence of endangered peaty and wet meadow communities. Valuable areas of vegetation of the Calthion and Violion caninae alliances are regularly cut. The Zhejral NNR is not open to the public.