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''Let nature be your teacher''
William Wordsworth, poet, 1770-1850

''Joy in looking and comprehending is nature's most beautiful gift''
Albert Einstein, physicist, 1879-1955

Friday, 20 May 2011

Reading: The White Carpathians


Something a bit different today. I want to show you an exercise from a course I am running this weekend in the White Carapatian (Bílé Karpaty) Protected Landscape Area (PLA) in the Czech Republic. This was sent to the students before the course as homework and we went through it today in the classroom.


Bílé Karpaty Protected Landscape Area

A         What is the name of the PLA we are close to?


B         What is so special about it?


C         Check the meaning of these words before reading the article:
     1         Quail (Coturnix coturnix),
     2         Honey Buzzard (Pernis apivorus)
     3         Corncrake (Crex crex)  
     4         calcareous  
     5          impermeable
     6          run-off
     7          landslide
     8          orchard
     9          orchid
     10        meadow

D         Read the article and answer these questions:
    1          What is special about Bílé Karpaty PLA?
    2          What type of soil is most common?
    3          True or false: the area is over 1,000 metres above sea level.
    4          What is different about the area around Valašské Klobouky?
    5         When was the area designated as a Biosphere Reserve? 
    6         Why have the meadows been disappearing?
    7         Which is larger – the Czech or Slovak PLA?
    8         How many other protected areas are within Bílé Karpaty PLA?


 Bílé Karpaty PLA


1. The Bílé Karpaty Protected Landscape Area (PLA) is situated in the South-Moravian Region and Zlín Region. Its management is seated in the spa town of Luhačovice.  


2.The PLA borders the Slovak Biele Karpaty PLA (435 sq km). The SW-NE oriented mountain range represents the westernmost outshoot of the Carpathians. It is a country of rolling hills intersected with stream valleys, and lies between 175-970 m above sea level. It represents an extraordinary area for reason of its vast areas of species-rich calcareous meadows with an exceptionally rich flora and entomofauna, and its old-growth beech forests.

3. The north-eastern part of the area, in the surroundings of Valašské Klobouky and Brumov-Bylnice, is called South Wallachia after their colonisers. The landscape is of a more mountainous nature. The large areas of semi-natural beech forests around the Vlára pass are among the best conserved woodlands of the Czech Republic.

5. The White Carpathians are based on Magura flysch - impermeable sedimentary rock consisting of mainly calcareous clay and sandstone. The impermeability of these formations causes rapid surface run-off resulting in minor groundwater accumulation and the occurrence of many small flushes and some mineral springs. Almost the entire area is subject to water erosion and landslides. The predominant soil types are brown soils (Cambisol), with rare occurrence of Chernozem and Phaeozem soils. In floodplains Fluvisol and around springs Glaysol soils occur.

7. Old orchards and solitary fruit-trees form an indivisible part of the countryside. These are, however, gradually disappearing and being replaced by modern cultivars. Since the beginning of the 1990s, local varieties have been identified and preserved. So far, more than 600 trees of local or rare old cultivars of apple, pear, cherry, plum and service tree (Sorbus domestica) have been documented.

8. The meadows are the most outstanding feature of the area. At the beginning of the 20th century they were many more than today. After World War II a considerable part was ploughed up or excessively fertilised, but also lack of management contributed to their degeneration.

9. What makes them unique is their diverse and plentiful orchid assemblage. Most common are Gymnadenia conopsea, Listera ovata, Platanthera bifolia, and Traunsteinera globosa. Neither Orchis mascula nor O. militaris are rare. In the north-eastern part, Dactylorhiza sambucina and Orchis morio are quite abundant. Real jewels are Anacamptis pyramidalis  and Ophrys fuciflora, scattered all over the White Carpathians but altogether absent from the rest of the country.

10. They also provide refuge to a number of rare birds, e.g. quail (Coturnix coturnix), corncrake (Crex crex), meadow pipit (Anthus pratensis), corn bunting (Miliaria calandra), whinchat (Saxicola rubetra), and stonechat (Saxicola torquata). A common bird of prey throughout the area is the honey buzzard (Pernis apivorus).

Designated: 1980
Area: 747 km2
Small-scale protected areas in the PLA:
    - 5 National nature reserve
    - 15 Nature reserves
    - 1 National Nature monuments
    - 31 Nature monument
UNESCO Biosphere Reserves 1996

http://www.bilekarpaty.cz/pages/eng-intro.htm


Answers below!




ANSWERS!


    1          What is special about Bílé Karpaty PLA?
its vast areas of species-rich calcareous meadows with an exceptionally rich flora and entomofauna, and its old-growth beech forests.
    2          What type of soil is most common?
brown soils (Cambisol)
    3          True or false: the area is over 1,000 metres above sea level.
False - the maximum altitude is 970 metres.
    4          What is different about the area around Valašské Klobouky?
The landscape is of a more mountainous nature with large areas of semi-natural beech forests.
    5         When was the area designated as a Biosphere Reserve? 
1996
    6         Why have the meadows been disappearing?
After World War II a considerable part was ploughed up or excessively fertilised, but also lack of management contributed to their degeneration
    7         Which is larger – the Czech or Slovak PLA?
Czech is 747 km2, Slovak is 435 km2 
    8         How many other protected areas are within Bílé Karpaty PLA?
52

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