Beech Forests


Description: These are forest communities with a predominance of beech trees, often with an admix of small-leaved limes, sycamores, or occasionally silver firs. The so-called herb-rich beech forests represent a significant part of the potential vegetation of Podyjí. Beech forest can only be found in the coldest, western section of Podyjí NP, around Vranov nad Dyjí. Beeches only grow in the rest of the national park in small numbers as part of other forest types. Beeches were certainly more widespread in Podyjí in the natural vegetation than they are today. Human activities have led to their reduction. Well-preserved or even primeval beechwood communities typically contain hollow trees and large amounts of dead wood. The beechwoods in Podyjí are of special significance as they play host to rare xylophagous insect species and sub-montane elements. The beechwoods pass into talus and ravine forests in some places on the steep valley slopes.


  Bučiny na BraitavěBeechwoods at Braitava

Flora: The undergrowth in the Podyjí beechwoods includes species such as mezereon (Daphne mezereum), male fern (Dryopteris filix-mas), wood fescue (Festuca altissima), one-flowered melick (Melica uniflora), perennial mercury (Mercurialis perennis), baneberry (Actaea spicata), woodruff (Galium odoratum), coral-root (Dentaria bulbifera), nine-leaved toothwort (Dentaria enneaphyllos), martagon lily (Lilium martagon), herb paris (Paris quadrifolia) and others. There may be abundant moss growths, especially if there is enough dead wood in the forest, or if there are rocky outcrops among the trees. Common mosses include rough-stalked feather-moss (Brachythecium rutabulum), the fork moss Dicranum montanum and the haircap moss Polytrichum formosum. Rare fungi which may be found in these beechwoods include the tooth fungus Hericium clathroides and the highly endangered jelly fungus Ascotremella foginea.


Korálovec bukovýThe tooth fungus Hericium clathroides


Fauna: Despite the relatively small area covered by beechwoods, we can find a whole range of significant and indicator animal species, especially insects, living here in these well-preserved forests. The ground beetles include Cychrus attenuatus, Trechus pulchellus and Harpalus marginellus. Beetles which are bound to dead and rotting wood include the weevils Acalles camelus and Cotaster uncipes, as well as the longhorn beetles Starangalia arulenta and Brachyleptura scutelata. The stag beetle Synodendron cylindricum is quite common here. Butterflies which fly abundantly through the beechwoods include the Tau emperor (Aglia tau) and the lobster moth (Stauropus fagi). A rare representative of the neuroptera is the lacewing Natanica fulviceps. The most interesting of the birds which occur here are the red-breasted flycatchers (Ficedula parva), as well as numerous woodpeckers such as the black woodpecker (Dryocopos martius) and the grey-headed woodpecker (Picus canus). Woodpecker nesting holes are later used by stock doves (Columba oenas).


roháček bukovýThe stag beetle Synodendron cylindricum 

žluna zelenáGreen woodpecker 

            Author: Robert Stejskal