JARO is part of the ČSOP. Together with ČSOP Arion, it is the organisation which initiated the project “Radiměřské motýlí královstí” – The butterfly kingdom of Radiměř, located in the Svitavy region in the Czech Republic back in 2016.
It’s an area of 200.000 square metres, dedicated to nature conservation. And since 2020, the home of Barbora and Ondřej.
By conservational grazing and mowing, they protect this piece of paradise and its biodiversity.
Their secret incentive? Supporting habitats for butterflies. Barbora and Ondřej work hard to save the rare Large Blue, one of the rarest butterflies in Europe.
“The butterfly kingdom of Radiměř” hosts dozens of species of day butterflies including the critically endangered Large Blue (Phengaris arion). Photo credit: Jan Ježek
Marie Orban, ENPLC: “Thank you, Barbora, for being part of the ENPLC community. Can you tell us a bit more about how you protect the Large Blue (Phengaris arion) and the impact on land conservation?”
The conservation activities in Radiměřské motýlí královstí began in 2016. Ondřej and his colleagues discovered that the local population of the critically endangered Large Blue was slowly but surely disappearing. This butterfly was no longer present for a couple of seasons. So they decided to create “ČSOP Arion“, named after the Large Blue (Phengaris arion) and started to take care of this abandoned site, once home to this beautiful butterfly.
The Large Blue lays eggs on wild thyme and probably also oregano. Without extensive grazing and proper mowing, these plants stand no chance against grasses.
Thanks to our conservation efforts, we have at Radiměř several species of orchids and dozens of day butterfly species, including the critically endangered Large Blue (Phengaris arion). This specie is now plentifully found in the local landscape, although it has already become extinct in most of the Czech Republic.
At our site, we have about 50 species of day butterflies, including Spotted Fritillary (Melitaea didyma), the Pearl-bordered Fritillary (Boloria euphrosyne), and the Amanda’s Blue (Polyommatus amandus) or the critically endangered Common Viper which obviously isn’t an insect.
The Large Blue ranks among the fifteen most endangered butterflies at the European level. Photo credit: ČSOP Arion, Roman Kalous
Marie: What can explain the biodiversity loss you are experiencing?
The disappearance of large herbivores – The pastures were abandoned and gradually overgrew with woody plants and aggressive grass species. Competitively weaker plants & biodiversity were slowly but surely suffocating.
Our main activity today is to cut, mow and graze. We started by using saws and brush cutters to revitalise the area, allowing nature to breathe again and recover from a diversity-loss period when no one cared about the local pastures and orchards.
To tackle the biodiversity loss of butterflies, the local meadows must be mowed. Photo credit: ČSOP Arion
Scrub before. Photo credit: ČSOP Arion, Martina Vanžurová
Scrub during. Photo credit: ČSOP Arion
Today, the hillsides of Radiměř are again covered with carpets of wildflowers and, on sunny days, dozens of species of butterflies.
After. Orchard with wild thyme. Photo credit: ČSOP Arion
We have horses, goats & sheep who are grazing freely. Photo credit: CSOP Arion, Roman Kalous
Gymnadenia conopsea, commonly known as the fragrant orchid, is one of our site’s orchid species. Photo credit: ČSOP Arion
This unique gem of nature needs gentle care. The ideal way to maintain the local meadows is by grazing. Specifically, low-intensity grazing by horses, goats and sheep. And as we live in the middle of the natural area, we can finally give the place the care it needs.
This nature conservation project has also a socio-economic vision.
All of that would not have been possible without the enthusiastic help of residents and volunteers.
Volunteers during summer camp. Photo credit: ČSOP Arion, Barbora Kukrechtová
Cutting the meadow is a never-ending job. We need a team of volunteers to maintain the meadows and preserve the butterflies.
We also organise tours, excursions, and summer camps to inspire people.
We still have many more ideas and ambitions for the Butterfly Kingdom of Radiměř. We want to offer our visitors an accessible, peaceful and nurturing place. A nature trail across the site would be an outstanding achievement. We are also planning to build a guest house so people can stay on site a little longer.
Horse grazing at the Butterfly Kingdom of Radiměř – Czech Republic. Photo credit: Roman Kalous