Six-day post-symposium excursion: From the Pannonian steppes to the Tatra summits (25–30 July 2015)

Guide to the post-symposium excursion
Photo gallery from the excursion sites

Guides: Monika Janišová & Jozef Šibík

This excursion departs from Hotel Voroněž in Brno (symposium venue) at 7:00 a.m. on 25 July and returns to the hotel at approximately 7:00 p.m. in the evening on 30 July. We will visit a variety of landscapes and habitats of the Western Carpathians following an altitudinal gradient from around 200 m to 2429 m a.s.l. taking in all main types of geological bedrock (limestone, dolomite, andesite, granite, sediments): (i) the pre-Carpathian mountains influenced by a warm Pannonian climate with thermophilous deciduous forests and rocky Pannonian grasslands on calcareous bedrock; (ii) colline to submontane landscapes in the central Carpathian basins with species-rich grasslands and well-preserved traditional agriculture; (iii) montane karst with unique vegetation of calcareous cliffs, screes and rock overhangs, relic pine forests, calcareous alluvial woodlands, tall-forb and fen vegetation; (iv) the montane to subalpine belt of the highest Slovak volcanic mountains with mixed and coniferous forests and diverse wetland vegetation; (v) subalpine and alpine habitats above the timberline in areas built by both calcareous and crystalline rocks including krummholz, deciduous shrubland, alpine grassland, dwarf heathland, tall-herb, cliff and scree communities; (vi) the largest fen complex in Slovakia with remnants of shallow fen pools rich in relic and rare species.
Note: This excursion will include hiking on mountain hiking trails up to 10 km long with an elevation range up to 400 m (optionally 800 m). Hiking boots, raincoats and outdoor wear for all temperatures between 5 and 37 °C will be needed. Please consider this before you register!


First day (25 July 2015) – Považský Inovec Mts, Tematínske vrchy National Nature Reserve

Departure from Brno
Lúka nad Váhom – Hradlová nivka: rocky Pannonian grasslands and their restoration; Tematín Castle – Bezovec: thermophilous oak and oak-hornbeam forests, mesic meadows and the ruin of a thirteenth century castle (9 km walk, elevation range 400 m)


Second day (26 July 2015) – Poľana UNESCO Biosphere Reserve

Hriňová: traditional agriculture, rare species of arable weeds, submontane grasslands and wetlands on volcanic bedrock (3 km walk, elevation range 100 m)
Zadná Poľana (National Nature Reserve): subalpine spruce and fir-beech forest on the summit of the Poľana stratovolcano (1458 m a.s.l.), montane mesic and peat meadows (5 km walk, elevation range 300 m)


Third day (27 July 2015) – Starohorské vrchy Mts and Veľká Fatra National Park

Jakub: species-rich semi-dry grasslands and important orchid site (3 km walk, elevation range 120 m)
Gaderská dolina valley: alluvial woodland and tall-forb vegetation, calcareous rocks, overhangs and screes, relic pine forest, calcareous fens (8 km walk, elevation range 200 m)


Fourth day (28 July 2015) – Malá Fatra National Park

Snilovské sedlo – Pekelník: a complex of subalpine grasslands and shrublands, tall-forb and rock outcrop vegetation on both calcareous and siliceous bedrock, arctic-boreal heathland and spring vegetation (6 km walk along the main mountain ridge, elevation range 250 m)


Fifth day (29 July 2015) – Tatra National Park

Velická dolina valley: 6 km long glacial valley under the slopes of Gerlachovský štít – the highest peak of the Carpathians; alpine cliff and scree vegetation, krummholz, tall-forb and spring communities on granite and mylonite; mountain lakes and glacial relief; the chance of climbing the peak Východná Vysoká at 2429 m a.s.l. (10 km walk, elevation range 800 m)


Sixth day (30 July 2015) – Belianske lúky National Nature Reserve

Belianske lúky meadows: various fen habitats including managed and unmanaged fen grasslands, grasslands invaded by reed or overgrown by willows and birches; rare and endangered fen species (3 km walk, elevation range 50 m)
Strečno: the ruin of a medieval castle
Arrival in Brno