What we can learn about the history of Gentiana pannonica in the central area of the Bohemian forest from its current distribution, habitat demands and historical land use

Ester Ekrtová

The distribution and habitats of the rare species Gentiana pannonica were studied in the central part of the Bohemian Forest. The study area represents the centre of the current distribution of Gpannonica in the Czech Republic. In the Bohemian Forest, Gpannonica is a typical glacial relict bound to non-forest habitats (cirques of glacial lakes, banks of streams, secondary montane meadows). The most frequent habitats of the species are short-grasslands and heaths in secondary, forest-free areas or early successional stands with woody species. Occurrence at small open sites along banks of forest streams is typical as well. At localities with presence of Gpannonica, historical maps were used to determine the habitat types approximately 160 years ago. Pastures, dry meadows, and forests represent the most common “historical” type of habitat at localities with the gentians. Based on these results, it is assumed that open sites along streams represent the most important type of primary habitat in the central part of the Bohemian Forest. It seems that specific human activities (e.g. cultivation in gardens and fields) have affected the general distribution of the species in the study area only marginally. Currently, Gpannonica occurs in numerous populations in the centre of the Bohemian Forest, especially in secondary forest-free enclaves. However, successional processes negatively affect population size, flowering, and habitat quality.