A peaceful landscape, jackals in the forests and turtles in the streams. What will Czech nature look like in 50 years?

The fox first appeared in the Czech Republic in the late 90s. Twenty years later, the animals raised their first cubs here. Foxes came to the Czech Republic from the Balkans. “We can see it moving north and already in the Baltics,” says Peter Adamic, a biologist at the University of Palacky, describing its current distribution. According to Scientists From the Faculty of Natural Sciences of Charles University, it has the potential to become a common species in the Czech Republic in the future. Jackals can also breed with domestic dogs.

The jackal is one of the few large animals that can become permanent residents within fifty years. Other species are also moving north. “In Italy, even porcupines are gradually reaching the north, but it will not happen that they will come here in fifty years,” Adamic says. Warm-loving rodents lived very close to southern Italy and northern Africa.

Not only will animal species increase over the next fifty years, many of them will also disappear irretrievably. This is primarily due to human intervention in the landscape and climate change. It is associated with warming, which affects animals living in the mountains, for example on the peaks of Jeseniki and Sumava mountains. This is because vegetation will move higher and higher with warming, and the high mountain forests where some species live will disappear.

“These are birds, for example the mountain black tiger, mountain lynx, but also mammals such as the mountain mouse,” Adamik explains of the endangered species. “From bird surveys we can already see that the boundary of the distribution is moving – the mountain species are moving up and their numbers are decreasing. And they will lose,” says the biologist.

One of the most dangerous groups of animals are amphibians, Experts from the Academy of Sciences report. For example, this is a mountain newt. “Waterfall numbers are already declining drastically,” Adamik says. According to him, climate change will cause more extreme weather. Prolonged droughts, followed by heavy rains, are frequent. Untouched natural habitats will also decrease.

“Where do the uncaught species go in our rapeseed landscape? Where there are no humans. If we reduce these places, the species will become extinct. For example, amphibians or orchids,” says ecologist Pavel Kindelman from Charles University's Faculty of Natural Sciences. They suffer from loss of natural environment According to biologists For example, one of the most endangered Czech frogs is the short-legged toad.

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Invasive turtles and birds settle in

In addition to topography and climate changes, according to Adamik, the situation will be affected by invasive species entering the Czech Republic, for example, with imported goods. “Currently, for example, the eastern ladybird or the Asian hornet. We also have non-native species that have already settled here, such as muskrat, American mink or raccoon,” the biologist explains.

Another endangered invasive species may turn out to be the beautiful turtle. “There's already a decent population here, because people release their pets. But so far, the winters have been too cold for the turtles to breed,” Adamik explains. Currently, only individuals without offspring survive in nature. But in the future, due to warmer winters, their eggs will be able to survive and turtles will become a common species.

Invasive species can crowd out native fauna. This is, for example, the Eastern Pigeon in South Moravia. “Ten years ago, a few individuals escaped, and now there is a large population that threatens our wild turtle dove. Nile geese also spread here and are known for their aggression towards other birds,” explains the biologist. Similarly, the invasive crayfish displaces signal crayfish that are already native crayfish. In addition, it is a frequent carrier of the crab plague, which destroys the original species.

But only invasive species grow on the Czech landscape. This would be mainly animals from the Mediterranean or the lowlands of Hungary. “Birds, for example, pied vultures or piping plovers. For example the small warbler, known from Greece, penetrates to the north,” Adamík describes. For fifty years, these birds were common in the Czech Republic. According to the scientist, these are species that prefer dry grassland landscapes.

According to the scientist, the arrival of new animals is well explained, for example, by the spread of mantis. “It was a breed in southern Moravia, and today there are already mandis in the mountains. And, for example, the striped cross, which is everywhere today, was only in southern Moravia thirty years ago,” he says.

According to scientists, the south of Moravia is the best place to find out which new species will appear in the Czech Republic. It is one of the hottest and driest regions, and experts suggest that as warming progresses, similar climates will prevail in other parts of the country.

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Spruce trees are short and diseased

There may have been species that originated here, but they are not very common at present. An example is the mandelic bird, which last nested in the Czech Republic in the early 1990s. But now their population is moving from south to north.

“If the pollinators wake up later, they may arrive late and the flowers will already be in bloom. Or they may arrive early and he will starve to death before the flower blooms.”

Pavel Kindlmann explains other effects of climate change.

Mediterranean-type animals will move to the Czech Republic because not only the climate change, but also the local landscape will suit them. “Forests are already changing before our eyes. Coniferous forests will recede, deciduous forests and the animals that live in them will flourish,” says Adamik. According to him, species such as the common tit, a bird bound to coniferous forests, are already declining.

Spruce trees are declining due to climate change. “Even in the Czech Republic there are small areas of natural mountain spruce forests, for example in Šumava, which are about a thousand meters above sea level. Climate scenarios suggest that their boundaries will move even further,” says botanist and biologist Zdenka Křenová. From the Global Change Research Institute at the Academy of Sciences.

According to him, climate change brings extremes like hurricanes or wet snow, which can also destroy spruce trees. “It is not true that there will be no shoot here, but it will certainly not spread. Shoots may live to a lesser age due to fungal infection or bark beetles,” says the expert. It's the bark beetles that prove the longest drought because they weaken the trees while allowing the beetles to reproduce more.

The widespread insect is a rare species

Many species of animals and plants will disappear from the agricultural landscape of the Czech Republic, which according to experts is increasingly poor and boring. “The lark, the lapwing, the meadow warbler, the white warbler, the white warbler — today we're at a fraction of their former status,” notes Adamic. According to him, there is little shortage of rabbits in the agricultural landscape. “Even the hamster or the ground squirrel, which was once a major pest, has retreated and now survives in a few dozen places like airports or golf courses,” Adamik explains.

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According to the biologist, there are species that have already disappeared due to changes in the landscape. For example, birds that require wet fields and grasslands such as sandpipers, sandpipers and waders. “They are very rare now. Even the previously common crested lapwing is now rare,” he says.

According to the scientist, Czech nature has lost a lot of animals. “The landscape is quiet, significantly quieter. When I come to the Balkans, where agriculture is not so intensive, the first thing that strikes me is a lot of insects and a lot of birds. It's an incredible difference,” he describes. .

Insects are also disappearing, meaning food for insectivores, which in turn will raise fewer children. Some insectivorous birds are already dying in the Czech Republic, for example the little or red-headed woodpecker.

With climate change, animal behavior will also change. Birds flying to the Mediterranean for the winter stay in the Czech Republic due to mild winters. According to Adamik, it's possible that mammals stop hibernating during the winter, but it's far-fetched. “We have some species that have true hibernation, for example bats, shrews, ground squirrels, hamsters. In some species, activity increases and hibernation decreases. We know from Great Britain, where the winters are short, this does not benefit hibernation and hibernation. They have lower survival,” he said. Explains.

Insects will also be a problem due to climate change and landscape treatment. “There is not much hope here. Insect species that only spread on one type of plant, for example, the bluebird,” explains Křenová. According to him, in the last ten years, the number of insects has decreased significantly. “This applies to common species like ladybirds or peacock-eyes,” he says.

Another problem for insects is throwing off nature's natural cycles. As the weather warms, flowers begin to bloom earlier. In the spring, the insects that pollinate them also arise. “When the pollinators wake up later, they can come late and the flowers have already bloomed. Or they can come early and before the flower blooms, he dies of hunger,” Pavel Kindelman explains other consequences. Climate change.

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