Description: A total of 10 villages lie within the Podyjí NP Buffer Zone, with only one small village (Čížov) located within the national park. Even if the man function of settlements is to provide suitable living conditions for people, there is plenty of space for living nature here too. Valuable parts of the Podyjí villages include the old trees, grassy areas, waste ground and ponds. Shelter for certain animals is also provided by old cellars, lofts, church towers, abandoned buildings or unused plots of land.
Flora: We can find a whole range of ruderal plant species growing in and around the villages, including woolly burdock (Arctium tomentosum) and the cotton thistle (Onopordum acanthium) from the aster family (Asteraceae), as well as flixweed (Descurainia sophia) and charlock (Sinapis arvensis) from the cabbage family (Brassicaceae), in addition to plants of the goosefoot (Chenopodiaceae) family. The well-known stinging nettle (Urtica dioica) also grows here. The stone walls have been colonised by several ferns, such as the wall-rue (Asplenium ruta-muraria). The low, trampled vegetation on village greens, in farmyards and around tracks and roads includes knotgrass (Polygonum aviculare agg.), smooth rupturewort (Herniaria glabra) and silverweed cinquefoil (Potentilla anserina). Mosses growing on the walls include silver sidewalk cushion moss (Grimmia pulvinata) and wall screw-moss (Tortula muraris), whereas mosses such as purple fork moss (Ceratodon purpureus), great hairy screw-moss (Syntrichia rurals), silver-green bryum moss (Bryum argenteum) and others, grow on the ground or on the roofs of old buildings.
Fauna: We can even find a wide range of interesting animal species, which find food and shelter here, inside the settlements and in their close surroundings. Underground spaces such as cellars and tunnels offer winter hibernating sites for bats. The bats which are most frequently found in cellars in the national park include the barbastelle (Barbastella barbastellus), Daubenton´s bat (Myotis daubentoni) and the lesser horseshoe bat (Rhinolophus hipposideros). Summer bat colonies can be found under the roofs of buildings, especially of Geoffroy’s bat (Myotis emarginatus) or of lesser horseshoe bats. Some bird species nest in gardens, or even on the village houses. Swifts (Apus apus) even nest in the smaller villages such as Havraníky and Hnanice, while the swallow (Hirundo rustica) and the house martin (Delichon urbica) are common everywhere. An interesting invertebrate which can be seen on the sunny, south-facing walls of some buildings is the striking house centipede (Scutigera coleoptrata).
Author: Robert Stejskal