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20-08-2011 02:01 | Christian Falvey

We’ve heard the politicians and the eco-activists’ views on the Šumava – but what do the scientists say? And by the way, how do cells read DNA? That’s what we’ll be trying to get our heads around this month on Science Journal.   More

Politicians wade into bark-beetle fray

03-08-2011 15:20 | Jan Velinger

Foto: ČTK A continuing standoff between ecological activists and loggers in the Šumava National Park is continuing to heat up. For more than a fortnight now activists have been chaining themselves to trees slated for felling – stressing that logging commissioned by the park in protected areas is illegal. Under existing regulations, they have argued, trees in the nature reserve must be allowed to decay naturally. The park management has countered by saying that only felling will prevent further locations from being devastated by the bark-beetle. The dispute has now divided senior politicians, some of whom are calling for immediate talks to try and resolve the dispute.  More

Environmental activists losing ground at Šumava National Park

26-07-2011 14:56 | Daniela Lazarová

Photo: CTK The number of environmental activists holding a blockade in the Modrava region of Šumava National Park to prevent felling of bark-beetle infested trees swelled on Tuesday morning in reaction to Monday’s forced evacuation by police. However logging continues and the protesters have been losing ground, both literally and legally as a regional court and the Czech Environment Inspection Office found nothing amiss with the management’s policy.  More

Šumava activists stay put as park warns of fines and damages

20-07-2011 16:28 | Christian Falvey

Photo: CTK Environmental activists are into their fifth day blocking loggers’ access to planned cutting in the Šumava National Park. While there has been no altercation as yet between the environmentalists from Hnutí Duha and the park management, the latter is firm on cutting right now to stem the local bark beetle infestation. The director of the park says that for every tree it cuts it may be saving eight others, and that another 30,000 trees are otherwise in danger. As far as the environmentalists are concerned though, the management has no permit to cut in the primary protected zone, where they have positioned themselves, and are in direct breach of the law. As police and the environmental inspection investigate who is in the right, the number of protesters in the forest is swelling, as I was told by Mojmír Vlašín of Hnutí Duha, one of the half-dozen activists who started the protest last Friday.  More

Mycologist Jan Borovička on mushrooms and where to find them

27-06-2011 14:38 | Jan Richter

Photo: Barbora Kmentová With mushroom season in full swing, our guest in this edition of One on One is Jan Borovička, a leading member of the Czech Mycological Society, who combines a very Czech hobby of mushroom picking with his profession of geochemist at the Czech Academy of Sciences. How has the internet changed mushroom picking? Why are mushrooms safe to eat even after Chernobyl and Fukushima? And, most importantly, where are the best spots to find them? These are some of issues we discussed with Jan Borovička, who says this year’s mushroom-picking season did not start out that great.  More

Environment minister scales back controversial plans in battle against bark beetle

21-04-2011 16:52 | Jan Velinger

The Environment Minister Tomáš Chalupa has changed plans by the head of Šumava National Park on how to battle the bark beetle, issuing a decision on Thursday that will still allow the manual felling of trees in the park’s most environmentally-sensitive and protected areas but will ban the use of heavy machinery or chemicals. Proposed intervention to fight devastation by the bark beetle in the national park had been at the forefront of a highly public battle between the park’s director, Jan Stráský, and former colleagues, scientists and specialists who formed a shadow council to express opposing views.  More

Environmentalists up in arms over plans for Šumava National Park

31-03-2011 16:09 | Daniela Lazarová

The Šumava National Park – a protected nature reserve in southern Bohemia –is at the centre of a row between scientists, environmental activists and the park’s new management. The park’s new director, former prime minister Jan Stráský, is proposing a radical remedy for the parks bark-beetle infestation problem –a combination of logging and effective insecticides. Critics are up in arms saying the proposed strategy would do irreversible harm to the valuable ecosystems and biotopes in the nature reserve and lower the non-intervention areas in the park from the present 33 to 22 percent, which goes against the general principles of nature reserve protection. Environmental activist Vojtěch Kotecký says the new management is about to throw the baby out with the bathwater.  More

The yellowhammer voted Bird of the Year

10-02-2011 13:17 | Daniela Lazarová

It’s official: the yellowhammer has been voted Bird of the Year by the Czech Ornithological Society. The sparrow sized bunting is with us all year round –but its numbers are dwindling. With a bright yellow head and belly it is hard to miss –and moreover makes itself heard with a song that is known as “a little bit of bread and no cheese” in English and “jak to sluníčko pěkně svítí” in Czech meaning “see how brightly the sun shines”. Ornithologists also claim they discern two dialects in the yellowhammer’s call. To find out more about the bird of the year I spoke to one of our leading ornithologists Petr Voříšek.   More

A bear-faced lie: Czech environmentalists fall for a prank

11-11-2010 16:49 | Jan Richter

Czech environmentalists were celebrating last week after they discovered bear tracks in a rail underpass in the north-east of the country. The tracks were deemed proof that the recently-built underpass, designed to allow animals to safely cross the railway line, was actually working. But it soon turned out that the bear track was faked, and that environmentalists had fallen for a prank.  More

Šumava National Park director steps down amidst concerns about its future

02-11-2010 | Jan Richter

František Krejčí, photo: CTK The Czech government wants to implement a radical change of direction in the management of the Šumava National Park in southern Bohemia. On Monday, the director of the country’s largest nature reserve, František Krejčí, stepped down – as he put it – in order to facilitate negotiations between the authorities and the local communities on the planned changes. But Czech environmentalists are concerned the director’s resignation will open the way for firms who want to increase logging in the park.  More



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