„Grazing is amazing“

Project LIFE SUB-PANNONIC focuses on restoration of rare dry grassland ecosystems which are currently threatened by succession and invasive plant species due to the abandonement of traditional grazing and management of these localitites. The restoration of the rare habitats is done with the help of four-legged mowers – sustainable management through grazing animals by local farmars. On the 22 localities across Slovakia, from the Small Carpathians all to way to Zemplín on the east and on 7 localities in Moravia the project improves the status of rare habitats and the protection status of population of floral species of European Importance: Himantoglossum caprinum, Onosma tornensis and Artemisia pancicii.

The project partners are the State Nature Conservancy of the Slovak Republic and for localities in Moravia ČSOPK – ONYX.

We thank the administration of NP Slovenský Kras, CHKO Latorica, CHKO Cerova vrchovina, CHKO Ponitrie, CHKO Biele Karpaty, CHKO Malé Karpaty, CHKO Dunajské luhy, AOPK – CHKO Pálava and local farmers for their help with the implementation of the project.

The volunteer’s actions are continued on Veľký Kopec

In the middle of February, the volunteers had met to help again the pasture species in Site of Community Importance Veľký Kopec. The locality is known by the occurrence of steppe and forest-steppe habitats.

We were working hard on Pieskovcové chrbty

We are trying to restore grazing to the Pieskovcové chrbty locality, which will be crucial for the protection of rare species. So far, we are at least cleaning and removing air raids.

Volunteer’s actions ,,Nippers“

Volunteers from OZ Permoníci – the geocachers as well as other volunteers visited the locality Pánsky Diel for the 20th time! By their willingness they helped to develop the protection of targetted species and habitats.

Placement of educational panels in Cerová vrchovina

The most of activities, what we are engaged in are predominantly aimed to grazing restoration that provides the favourable conservation status of dry and thermophilic habitats. An essential part of project is also propagation of natural values.

We restore grazing on Fabiánka

In Slovak Karst National Park is located the unique Site of Community Importance Fabiánka. It is a wonderful mosaic landscape with pastures and open forests, which had suffered by grazing abandonment. That led to loss of protected and rare species bounded to non-forest areas.

Serényi’s water tank restoration = grazing restoration

Thanks to the implementation of project actions of LIFE Sub-pannonic on Site of Community Importance Plešivská planina the project team persuaded the owner of the unique historical grazing infrastructure located on the site, the Serenyi water tank, to agree with the inclusion of the water tank in the list of National cultural monuments.

Volunteer’s action on Tarbucka 2.0

In the end of September, the dry-thermophilic pastures in south of Eastern Slovakia was visited again for a second time by volunteers. The Site of Community Importance Tarbucka was established for a purpose to protect and to improve favourable conservation status of species and habitats of European interest.

The results of grazing restoration on Zemné hradisko

In the area of Zemné hradisko, which is a part of Site of Community Importance Horný Vrch, we succeeded by conservation management. The Russian bugloss (Echium russicum) is in our country as well as in the European Union the protected plant species – the species of European interest.

Goats grazing on Velky Kopec helped the return of a rare orchid

And at this time of the year the effort of the brave farmers and volunteers from the whole of Slovakia brought a reward – thanks to their help with protecting nature a rare orchid - Green winged orchid (Orchis morio) – is blooming on “Velky Kopec”.

Early spring conservation management in Drieňové

At the end of February, we helped nature in Protected Landscape Area Cerová vrchovina. We met with employees of the Administration of Protected Landscape Area Cerová Vrchovina, local rangers and volunteers.

Restoration of rare Tarbucka habitats

Tarbucka hill stretches over the villages Streda nad Bodrogom, Veľký Kamenec and Malý Kamenec. Thanks to its specific subsoil and suitable microclimatic conditions, Tarbucka hosts rare drought and thermophilic herbaceous vegetation and provides a home for many protected species of plants and animals. Thanks to these natural values it has been declared a Territory of European Importance.

Restoration of pastures on Zádielská plain

The species richness of our country is linked to non-forest habitats – they include thermophilic and xerophilous meadows and pastures, which we can admire in Slovenský Kras. These habitats depend on traditional management – extensive grazing and mowing. Unfortunately, most cities have not been farming traditionally for over 30 years. As a result, pastures are overgrown with aerial trees and expansive grasses.

Restoration of grazing at Veľký Kopec

Together we a local stakeholder Arnold Docs we started grazing at SCI Veľký Kopec in eastern Slovakia. The grazing will help restore rare steppe habitats including oak pastures which are full of life especially the insect and floral type.

Restoration of pastures at Silicka planina

It is the first year of project running and we already succeeded in restoring the rare dry grassland habitats. One of the first project localitites which was restored through grazing in Fabiánka, part of the biggest karst plain in Slovakia – the Silicka plain.

Project name: Conservation of subpannonic dry grassland habitats and species
Project acronym: LIFE SUB-PANNONIC

Project scheme: LIFE, Nature and Biodiversity

The project is implemented in Slovakia and Czech Republic.

Main objective: The main objective of the project is to improve the conservation status of 3 priority habitats of European importance and 3 species of European importance (of which 2 are priority) in 22 localities of the NATURA 2000 network in Slovakia and in 7 localities in the territory of Moravia (Czech Republic). At current state, the project sites are threatened by an overgrowth of aerial trees and expansive grasses and the spread of non-native species due to the abandonment of traditional management. Populations of target species are small and fragmented.

With appropriate management measures, the project will significantly contribute to the construction of the NATURA 2000 network in Slovakia, to the improvement of its functionality and the preservation of the natural heritage of the regions of Slovakia. In addition to improving the condition of the habitats in question, the aim of the project is to ensure sustainable care for the restored areas and to restore ecosystem services. A substantial part of the project activities will be implemented in cooperation with local farmers and communities, which will bring significant socio-economic benefits and contribute to job creation in the regions.

 

Specific Targets:

1. For *Onosma tornensis, it will cover all sites of its occurence in Slovakia within the NATURA 2000 network, representing cca 50% of the total SK/HU population of this endemic species.
2. For endemic species *Artemisia pancicii, 1 of cca 10 remaining sites worldwide will be covered.

3. Himantoglossum caprinum – the species will be conserved on northernmost edge of its overall distribution range. The respective populations are very endangered presently, with only a few indivduals left. The covered sites hold more than 80% of the overall SR population of this rare species.
4. *6240 – the project will cover and restore the core of habitats occurence in Slovakia and one of the most important sites in CR.
5. *6250 – some of the most important sites with this habitat type in Czech Republic will be restored.

If you are interested in similar activities in your area or need advice on the topics we deal with in the project, do not hesitate to contact us (mikulova@broz.sk).
In the project, we pay special attention to the following topics:
– Restoration of long abandoned and overgrown pastures (reintroduction of grazing to long abandoned grasslands)
– The use of antiparasitics (drugs to protect livestock from parasites) harmless to beneficial insect species (e.g. dung beetles)
– Nature-friendly and effective management of invasive species
– Optimal management of project species * Onosma tornensis, * Artemisia pancicii and Himantoglossum caprinum (and other grassland species)

Himantoglossum caprinum

 

Onosma tornensis

 

Artemisia pancicii

LIFE Subpannonic project area

LIST OF ALL PROPOSED ACTIONS

A. Preparatory actions, elaboration of management plans and/or of action plans

A1 Expert study on restoration management of grassland habitats
A2 Expert study on restoration of target habitats by reintroduction of grazing
A3 Expet study on optimal management of target species

B. Purchase/lease of land and/or compensation payments for use rights

B1 Land purchase and long-term lease of land

C. Conservation actions

C1 Restoration management of grassland habitats
C2 Restoration of grassland habitats by reintroduction of grazing
C3 Specific restoration measures for target species

D. Monitoring of the impact of the project actions

D1 Monitoring of project impact on target species and habitats
D2 LIFE performance indicators monitoring
D3 Assessment of project impact on ecosystem services
D4 Assessment of projects socio-economic impacts and impact of dissemination actions

E. Public awareness and dissemination of results

E1 Awareness raising – public

E2 Awareness raising – key stakeholders
E3 Replication toolkit
E4 Increasing socio-economic benefits
E5 Networking and policies

F. Project management

F1 Project management and reporting
F2 Project bookkeeping, financial management and auditing
F3 After-LIFE plan

State 28/02/2022

A. Preparation activities 

A1 Expert study on restoration management of grassland habitats
A2 Expert study on restoration of target habitats by reintroduction of grazing
A3 Expert study on optimal management of target species

Expert studies are complete and help us to restore habitats and species populations.

C. Concrete conservation actions

C1 Restoration management of grassland habitats

After second winter we have restored 180 ha of target habitats in lower Zemplín (Veľký kopec above Kráľovský Chlmec and Tarbucka near Streda nad Bodrogom), in Slovenský Kras (in Silická plain – SCI Fabiánka, in NR Zemné hradisko and in Zádielska plain and Jasovská plain), in Moravia (SCI Bílý kopec near Čejc, Čejkovické Špidláky, Hochberk, Kamenný vrch near Kurdějova and Přední kout), in Tematínske vrchy, near Bratislava (SCI Biskupické luhy, Ostrovné lúčky) and above Hlohovec (SCI Sedliská). During the nesting season, we focus on another type of activity – especially the removal of invasive species, which is most effective during the vegetation season. We managed to intervene against invasive plants on more than 40 ha in several project localities.

C2 Restoration of grassland habitats by reintroduction of grazing

In most localities after C1 activities, it is necessary to introduce grazing immediately, otherwise, the removed air raids would begin to rejuvenate. Cows, sheep goats or donkeys cope very well with young sprouts and help restore habitats beyond recognition. Therefore we help farmers to adjust the pastures according to the needs of grazed animals (clean for more sensitive hooves of cows, fence as needed or provide shade and water for the comfort of our helpers). In the 2019 season, we started grazing on Veľký Kopec above Kráľovský Chlmec and in several localities in Slovenský Kras. Since the spring of 2020, in cooperation with a local farmer, we have started to graze Tarbucka in lower Zemplín, which has been abandoned for many years. In Slovenský Kras, we are expanding the until now overgrown and abandoned pastures on plains Silická, Plešivská, Jasovská and Zádielská as well as the NR Zemné hradisko. Thanks to the project, we are also started grazing the long time abandoned Sedliská above Hlohovec.

In the Czech Republic, grazing was resumed in most localities after activity C.1, namely in SCIs Bílý kopec u Čejče, Čejkovické Špidláky, Hochberk, Kamenný vrch u Kurdějova, Přední kopaniny and Přední kout.

In the 2021 season, we grazed more than 200 ha as part of the project.

C3 Specific restoration measures for target species

Target species can be very sensitive to intervention. As recommended by the Expert study, restoration measures for Himantoglossum caprinum were started at ÚEV Zobor and Artemisia pancicii at the Čejkovické špidláky site (Czech Republic).

D. Monitoring of the impact of the project actions

Monitoring of the impact of the project actions on target species and habitats, ecosystem services or assessing socio-economic impacts is an essential part of the projects. Another monitoring season runs with the help of the best experts.

E. Public awareness and dissemination of results

Since the start of the project, several media outputs have been published. One is, for example, this report in regional television MA7, where the reporters came to see how the restoration of grazing above Kráľovský Chlmec is planned. And another, where the grazing has already started. The project and its activities were also mentioned in the V4 news of television M1, on radio Slovenský rozhlas, on TV Slovenská televízia, in daily journal Új szó or on portal bumm.sk. , enviroportal.sk, dobrenoviny.sk, čas.sk, teraz.sk, sme.sk, obecne-noviny.sk, on web page Ministry of the Environment (SR) and so on.

Grazing on Tarbucka delighted readers of Korzár, Nový Čas and more periodicals.

You can hear about the pasture with our Katka Mikulová on Denník N (https://dennikn.sk/2576316/katarina-mikulova-posiela-na-luky-ovce-kozy-i-somare-aby-zachranili-vzacne-druhy-rastlin-a-zivocichov/).

As part of the project, we installed 5 educational panels (together with a bench on Veľký Kopec nad Kráľovským Chlmcom and at another 4 localities in Cerova vrchovina) and made 27 excursions for the public. We have combined many with volunteer activities in which the volunteers helped us and the local farms to clean the pastures.

As part of the project, we have installed the 1st educational panel (together with bench on Veľký kopec above Kráľovský Chlmec) and made 8 excursions for the public.

One of the most important parts of the project is raising awareness of stakeholders. We do this daily when we meet with local farmers, breeders, representatives of urbariats, land communities or local governments.

We try to move the best practice of the project further and help with replication and transfer to political documents. In this way, we have already managed to participate in the novelisation of Nature and Landscape Protection law. As part of the creation of a new agricultural policy, we are pushing for subsidies to farmers to be better redistributed and to support the long-term nature-friendly management of grassland-herbaceous habitats. We are looking forward to the fact that the project activities are helping our farmers, and that, thanks to this good cooperation, the Natura 2000 has also been expanded. We are also successful in finding solutions for nature-friendly and effective management of invasive species.

Mgr. Katarína Mikulová, PhD. – junior project manager

mikulova(at)broz.sk

Mgr. Pavol Littera, PhD. – senior project manager

littera(at)broz.sk

RNDr. Pavol Surovec – finance manager

surovec(at)broz.sk

Miroslav Farkaš – fieldwork coordinator

farkas(at)broz.sk

ŠOP SR:
Ing. Drahoš Stano – fieldwork coordinator

We thank the administration of NP Slovenský Kras, CHKO Latorica, CHKO Cerová vrchovina, CHKO Ponitrie, CHKO Biele Karpaty, CHKO Malé Karpaty, CHKO Dunajské luhy.

 

ČSOPK ONYX:

Mgr. Roman Barták – coordinator for localities in Moravia
roman.bartak(at)email.cz

Petra Fügnerová – assistant

We thank AOPK – CHKO Pálava and the South Moravian Region for their help in restoring Moravian localities.

 

Local farmers help us with the restoration of specific locations. We owe the restoration and care of the site to:

ÚEV Veľký Kopec: Arnold Dócs with family

ÚEV Tarbucka: Juraj Kulčár and his son Dani

ÚEV Horný vrch – Jasovská plain: Urbariát Háj and Agrodružstvo Turňa

ÚEV Horný vrch – Zemné hradisko: Urbariát Dvorníky and Agrodružstvo Turňa 

ÚEV Horný vrch – Zádielská plain, section Hačavské lúky: Július Hodermarský, Agro Hačava, s.r.o.

ÚEV Silická plain: Družstvo Silická planina

ÚEV Plešivská plain: Agrospol Honce, s.r.o.; SHR Vojtech Szendi; SHR Gabriel Szendi

ÚEV Sedliská: Roman Halás with family

Mokraď na Veľkolélskom ostrove

The purpose of the website www.krajina-ziva.sk is to connect nature-friendly farmers with their customers. Agricultural landscape – our fields and pastures make up 51% of Slovakia’s area. Therefore, we care greatly about the way of farming and managing the land. It is essential for us to maintain the health of the soil and nature for future generations and to produce quality and healthy food with respect for nature.

In our opinion, little attention is given to nature-friendly farming and its benefits for the land. In addition, many honest farmers face a number of systemic and bureaucratic obstacles, which in many cases limit their agricultural activity. Our goal is to help change this situation and raise awareness of those farms who see the condition of the land as one of its key priorities.

Krajina živá

As part of the LIFE Subpannonic project, two educational online trails have been created in the vicinity of several South Moravian sites of European importance – Bílý kopec, Špidláky, Přední kopaniny, Přední kout and Kamenný vrch u Kurdějova.

You can find more about online sidewalks on the website of the ČSOP Onyx project partner.

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