Forest and water, that is one of the most important topics that students at forestry faculties should understand in order to become good experts in forestry practice. That is why we teamed up with colleagues from the Faculty of Forestry and Wood Sciences in Prague and together we organized a trip of students to restored forest wetlands and to non-intervention mountain spruce forest in the Šumava National Park.
The route of the excursion led through previously drained and last year restored bog forests, restored forest springs and streams, valley raised bogs and the floodplain of the Studená Vltava river. We aimed to explain to students the role of forest wetlands in the water regime of the landscape, to describe restoration methods that can be used to return water to the forest, we discussed the role of forests in climate change, drought or flooding periods.
To translate theory into practice, we have used the official Typological table of forest types, which is commonly used in forestry and of course also describes water-affected forest habitats. Our goal was to show that such areas are of irreplaceable importance in forest ecosystems. However, due to the draining of forests in the past, we have lost a number of forest wetlands. The excursion offered students an insight into the project sites, where the water regime was restored, and an idea of how the return of water will affect future management.
The good news is that the response from more than 40 students has been very positive and the rising generation is fully aware that forests should not have a primarily production function.