Many songbirds in Southeast Asia are now on the list of threatened bird species, having been decimated largely due to incessant capture for trade. Liberec Zoo in the north of the Czech Republic is coordinating an EAZA (European Association of Zoos and Aquaria) conservation campaign involving some 200 European zoos which are striving to save these species from extinction. I spoke to the zoo’s spokeswoman Barbara Tesařová and began by asking her to explain why so many songbirds in Southeast Asia are threatened.
Has the brown bear really returned to the Krkonoše? Following a recent sighting in the mountain range’s national park, scientists are now searching for evidence that would confirm the presence of the large carnivorous species, which last freely roamed the area on the Czech-Polish border more than 200 years ago.
The Czech Republic’s largely coniferous forests are facing the worst bark
beetle infestation in at least 200 years. The lower house of Parliament is
due on Tuesday to discuss both emergency and long-term measures to combat
the voracious insect, which kills spruce trees.
The amount of spruce wood damaged by bark beetles has risen steadily in the past few years, from 2 million cubic metres of spruce wood in 2015 to more than 5.5 million cubic metres in 2017. Experts are warning that the nation’s forests could be wiped out if the current monoculture forestry format is not unchanged.
The Czech Republic’s largely coniferous forests are facing the worst calamity in years. Experts are warning that if required measures are not taken soon enough, the forests might soon find themselves wiped out. Despite the alarming situation, the agriculture ministry is looking to keep the current monoculture forestry format more or less unchanged.
Prime Minister Andrej Babiš and several other cabinet ministers will visit
the Vysočina region on Monday to meet with the locals and discuss pressing
problems in the region.
Education Minister Robert Plaga is to meet with the coach of Czech speed-skating champion Martina Sábliková to discuss plans to build a speed-skating rink in the region, while Environment Minister Richard Brabec will debate environmental problems with the local authorities. Agriculture Minister Jiří Milek has a separate program with farmers.
Opposition parties have criticized these trips, accusing the ANO party of preparing the ground for early elections.
Young Czech scientist Hana Svobodová has devoted her entire career to protecting and saving endangered sea turtles. Since 2010, she has been regularly visiting Indonesia to work as a volunteer in turtle conservation centres and later established her own NGO focusing on their protection. Her NGO recently won an important victory, when they succeeded in hunting down a group of sea turtle egg poachers.
The Czech Republic alongside other European countries has been struggling in recent decades with increasingly frequent droughts. But research carried out by a team of scientists from the Faculty of Environmental Sciences at the Czech Life Sciences University suggests that Europe has actually witnessed similar or even more severe periods of drought in the past 1,000 years.
Environmental groups and experts in the field have been ringing alarm bells regarding the sorry state of Czech forests. The country’s largely coniferous forests are falling prey to climate change, bark beetle infestation and devastating wind-storms. Experts claim that measures are long overdue to help forests adapt to climate change. I spoke to Jan Skalík, from Friends of the Earth Czech Republic, about the gravity of the problem and what needs to be done.
The Žofín forest in South Bohemia belongs among the oldest protected nature reserves in Central Europe. This unique woodland, which has been protected for more than 180 years, has now become a focus of research carried out by the US space agency NASA. They want to use the data collected in the forest to compare it with measurements taken from space. That could enable them to get a more accurate picture of the Earth’s surface.