The Natura 2000 site of Krkonoe holds key areas of habitats listed in Annex I of the Habitats Directive: species-rich Nardus grassland, on siliceous substrates in mountain areas (and submountain areas in continental Europe); Lowland hay meadows (Alopecurus pratensis, Sanguisorba officinalis); and Mountain hay meadows. It is also home to two of the three populations of the Annex II-listed plant species Gentianella bohemica in the East-Sudeten mountains, as well a population of the priority fish species, bullhead (Cottus gobio).
The LIFE CORCONTICA project aimed to create suitable conditions to ensure a favourable conservation status of the grassland habitat types 6510, 6520 and 6230 and of the EU priority species Gentianella bohemica and bullhead in SCI Krkonoe and thus contribute to the conservation of biodiversity and to the performance of the Natura 2000 network. Specific project objectives included:
The project would contribute to a significant increase in the quality of the target habitats. Other aims included the acquisition of new knowledge on the management and requirements of these habitats and species, and the establishment of a suitable management system in cooperation with farmers. The project would have a good demonstration aspect with accompanying information and public awareness activities motivating other owners and land users in other parts of the SCI. It planned to highlight the potential for restoring more areas of currently degraded grasslands in the Krkonoe Mountains.
The project helped create suitable conditions for favourable conservation status of the grassland habitats 6230*, 6510 and 6520 (Nardus grasslands and hay meadows) and two species of Community importance, dwarf gentian (Gentianella bohemica) and bullhead fish (Cottus gobio) in the Natura 2000 site (SCI) Krkonoše. In total 420 ha of grassland habitats were restored and project actions had a positive impact on 540 ha. Removal of invasive plants was carried out over 50 ha, while expansive trees and shrubs were removed over 47 ha.
A range of activities were carried out to improve the conditions of the sites, such as levelling, manuring, stone removal, channel restoration, and the provision of farm infrastructure and equipment. Support of grasslands habitat 6230* at farms confirmed that if financial resources are available for nature conservation, farmers are willing to cooperate on restoring and improving the habitats in their farms.
The foreseen 150 km of continuous watercourses are suitably managed to promote the bullhead fish, with five migratory barriers removed and 5 km of river beds restored. The beneficiaries expect that more than 100 km of streams will be slowly re-colonised by the bullhead fish, with the population increasing by 5-10% on 2018. The number of vegetation monitoring plots was maintained and the quality of at least 80% of them was shown not to have lowered during the project.
The continuation of appropriate management of two relevant localities of dwarf gentian is ensured in each locality over at least 1 000 m2. It is highly probable that a minimum viability threshold will be confirmed for the population within the next 10 years with the territorial range and number of individuals increasing in the Natura 2000 site.
The project addressed several European and national directives, strategies and action plans and developed several conceptual documents, methods and tools that facilitate grassland and watercourse management. It established an application database for registering and monitoring implemented measures and for monitoring of commonly used global indicators at local level. The online tourist initiative ‘Krkonoše Farm Paths’ allows farm products to be marketed based on the conservation values of the area.
Further information on the project can be found in the project's layman report and After-LIFE Conservation Plan (see "Read more" section).