Forest owners in the Czech Republic face damages of up to 40 million crowns this year from an escalating spread of bark beetle, suggests a report by the think-tank Czech Forest, an independent group of experts in the forestry sector. The report warns that in the future, bark beetle infestation could affect up to 50 percent of the country’s forests.
The current spell of cold and wet weather brought the season’s first snow
to the Krkonoše Mountains in the north of the country.
Fresh snow fell overnight in areas over 1,200 metres above sea level and meteorologists expect more snow to fall during the day. The temperature at the country’s highest mountain, Sněžka, is currently below zero.
Dvůr Králové Zoo is spearheading an international effort to save the Northern White Rhino which is on the brink of extinction. Last week an international team of experts trying to produce the world’s first test tube baby rhino made international headlines. I asked Dvůr Králové Zoo’s special projects coordinator Jan Stejskal, who is a member of the team, to report on the latest progress.
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.
Up 40,000 cubic meters of wood infested by bark beetles in the Krkonoše
National Park may need to be felled this year, about 20 percent more than
in 2018, a park official says.
The bark beetle infestation affecting spruce forests throughout the Czech Republic in 2018 was said to have been the worst in the past 200 years.
Due to the infestation, the country’s largely coniferous forests face extensive felling of trees, which could negatively impact many animal species, including hawks and white-tailed eagles.
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.
Police in České Budějovice have arrested two foreign men and a Czech
woman for allegedly supplying prostitutes to pensions in the Šumava region
bordering Germany. If convicted on pimping charges, they face up to eight
years in prison.
Police spokesman Jaroslav Ibehej said the three suspects had been bringing women from Ukraine, Romania and the Czech Republic to Šumava guest houses since at least 2011. The alleged ringleader also faces money laundering charges, he said.
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.
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