MVJ Telč / ENG

Landscape on a swing

Peat bogs in the Telč region

In the Bohemian-Moravian Highlands, peat bogs are distributed in four main areas: the Hlinecko-Novovovestská, Humpolecko-Jihlavská, Telčsko-Počátecká and Kunžacko-Novobystřická. Almost all of them are minerotrophic peat bogs or fens. The peat bogs in the Telč region fall within the Telčsko-Počátecká area; in the south and south-west, they are connected to the Kunžacko-Novobystřická area and further to the Austrian Waldviertel and the Třeboň Basin. Some peat bogs in the Telč region were already formed at the end of the last Ice Age, others only in the older and middle Holocene. At the time of medieval colonization in the 13th century, they often formed in places where new settlers converted the original forest wetlands of alder and spruce into agricultural land.

In the Telč region, we can find only peat bogs saturated with groundwater, the so-called fens. This type of peat bog is one of the most endangered biotopes of the temperate zone, significantly affected by human activity. The Bohemian-Moravian Highlands are, unfortunately, a typical example of this. Most of the extensive peat bog complexes, once so characteristic of the region, were damaged by peat extraction in the past and destroyed by drainage and conversion to agricultural land in the second half of the 20th century.

Research of peat bogs in the Telč region

At the beginning of the 1960s, the peat bogs of the Jihlava and Telč regions were intensively studied by the Rybníček couple from the Brno department of the Botanical Institute of the Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences. They collected samples for palynological analyses, measured the peat bogs‘ thickness and studied their flora and vegetation. They listed 26 sites in the Telč-Počátky area; however, in 1973 and 1974, seven of them were already classified as damaged or destroyed.

Rybníčeks‘ research was followed up by the botanist of the Museum of Vysočina Jihlava, Ivan Růžička. In the 1970s and 1980s, he undertook the ungrateful task of documenting the systematic destruction of one of the most valuable parts of the Bohemian-Moravian Highlands. Thanks to his influence, at least a few of the most valuable places were saved from direct destruction. Although no care was taken afterwards, valuable biota was preserved in some of them. Some of these sites were later designated as small-scale, specially protected areas.

Threats to peat bogs in the Telč region

In the 20th century, peat bogs in the Telč region, as elsewhere in the Bohemian-Moravian Highlands, and indeed in the whole of Central Europe, were gradually being destroyed. This so-called cultivation or melioration (from the Latin melioratio – improvement) reached its peak in the 1970s and 1980s when peatlands were drained, ploughed, and converted to farmland on a large scale. Only fragments have survived to the present day and have been designated as small-scale special protection areas. However, despite all the measures taken, even these are often affected by the disturbance of the water regime of the surrounding land and are often marked by the long-standing interruption of traditional farming and the associated overgrowth of trees and competing herbs.