Last year’s infestation of bark beetles was said to have been the biggest to hit Czech forests in 200 years. This year could prove even worse. Among those hard hit is Krkonoše National Park, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve site. Park officials estimate 20 percent more trees will need to be felled in the battle against the relentless bug.
The Czech Environment Ministry is up in arms over a decision by the Central Institute for Supervision and Testing in Agriculture allowing farmers to use a highly toxic rat poison in fields, orchards, meadows and vineyards. They claim it will “harm all living things in the vicinity”, a warning that has made the agriculture minister break off his holiday and come back to Prague for emergency talks.
Krkonoše is home to the highest mountains in the Czech Republic, with majestic peaks protruding above the alpine tree line and a unique mosaic of ecosystems in valleys formed in the ancient glacial past. Dozens of mountain trails and alpine meadows paths in the Krkonoše or Giant Mountains are now accessible also for handicapped nature-lovers and families with prams.
A new study carried out by an international team of scientists, including experts from Palacký University in Olomouc, has ascertained that animals are not responding fast enough to the changing environmental conditions. The alarming findings have been published in the prestigious scientific journal Nature Communications.
The ČEZ power utility, which is 70% owned by the state, will explore the
possibilities of lithium mining at Cínovec in the Ore Mountains.
The company will give European Metals Holdings (EMH), which has a prospecting license to mine lithium in the area, a loan of two million euros (51.2 million CZK) and by the end of the year, decide whether to enter the company or have the loan returned.
The Czech Republic has the biggest lithium reserves in Europe and many politicians have pushed for lithium mining in the country to be in the hands of a state-run company.
For the first time in history, Prague is hosting the Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting, an annual conference focused on environmental conservation, the impact of tourism and research cooperation on the White Continent. The event is attended by representatives of 29 countries, which are jointly tasked with taking care of Antarctica. I asked Pavel Kapler, manager of the Czech Johann Gregor Mendel Antarctic base, how come the Czech Republic is one of them.
Once a common species in the Czech Republic, the European ground squirrel, also known as the souslik, has become increasingly rare over the past decades. While in the past ground squirrels were exterminated as pests, today conservationists are trying to protect existing colonies and reintroduce them into suitable habitats. I discussed the sousliks with Hannah Findlay, a young British woman based in Moravia who works as a researcher for the Czech NGO Alka Wildlife. I started by asking her what made its numbers dwindle in the first place:
More than half of the Czech Republic has been hit by exceptional or extreme drought and the situation is likely to get even worse within the next few days. According to the project InterSucho, which is mapping the current state of drought in the Czech Republic, some 63 percent of the country’s territory is currently affected, including the whole of Bohemia and northeast Moravia.
Two more Czech attractions have been added to the UNESCO World Heritage
Site list. One is the uniquely preserved mining landscape Krušné hory –
Erzgebirge for which the Czech Republic made a joint bid with Germany, the
other is the national stud farm in Kladruby in Central Bohemia.
Founded in 1579, the farm is known for its Kladruber horses, one of the oldest breeds in the world. The first Czech sites to be included on the list were the historic centre of Prague, Telč and Český Krumlov in 1992. The overall number of Czech sites has now reached 14.
New foreigners’ law to change conditions for non-EU nationals
Czech rock climber Adam Ondra knocked out of World Cup in Japan
Czech foreign ministry reports record number of visa applications
New index shows locations with best quality of life in Czech Republic
Archaeologists unearth rare Renaissance-Baroque brew house in ‘Czech Paradise’