Following the collapse of the Soviet bloc, many army firing ranges and training sites in former Warsaw Pact members such as the Czech Republic fell into disuse. The cessation of military training, abandonment of sites and succession processes have resulted in biodiversity loss. The impact of this trend has become more and more apparent in recent years.
Such abandoned military areas are important for scientific purposes and nature conservation for a number of reasons: The majority were established in the late 1940s and 1950s, when the landscape was much more diverse and hosted varieties of fauna and flora with higher abundance. The military importance of these areas had an unintended consequence: it preserved landscape diversity, since army training required different conditions, i.e. various biotope mosaics on heterogeneous landscape (areas with and without vegetation cover, holes, wet sites, etc.). Such diverse conditions have meant a wide variety of species, often with different habitat demands, may be found on a single tract of military land. Adding to their importance for biodiversity is the fact that such areas also avoided the intensive use of chemicals in farming and forestry prevalent on productive land from the 1960s onwards.
The overall objective of the Military LIFE for Nature project is to provide the suitable management of exceptionally valuable natural sites formed in the past by military training. Different management approaches will be adopted, thereby creating the optimum conditions for ensuring a favourable conservation status for the rare and endangered habitat types and species found therein. The project area comprises five sites: Blšanský chlum, Mašovická střelnice, Havranické vřesoviště, Načeratický kopec and Pánov.
The target habitat types include semi-natural dry grasslands and scrubland facies and priority Pannonic sand steppes, and others such as inland dunes, dry heaths, juniper formations, and siliceous rock - all listed in the Annex II of the Habitats Directive as priority for conservation. Also targeted is the Annex II-listed priority butterfly species Jersey tiger (Euplagia (Callimorpha) quadripunctaria).
Specific objectives are:
- To restore open sand with occurrence of two habitat types at the Pánov site and introduce long-term sustainable management;
- To substantially extend an area of two habitat types at the areas currently influenced by vegetation succession processes at the Načeratický kopec site and to prepare them for long-term sustainable management;
- To introduce breeding of large native herbivores (horses) at the Mašovická střelnice and Havranické vřesoviště sites and thus to prepare suitable conditions for four habitat types and the herbaceous perennial (Pulsatilla grandis);
- To provide suitable conditions for the occurrence of the Jersey tiger at the Blšanský chlum site; and
- To promote various management methods for maintaining favourable status of the habitat types and species of the abandoned military training areas.
The project expects to achieve the following results:
- Restoration of 55 ha of inland dunes and priority Pannonic sand steppe habitats at the Pánov site;
- Elimination of continuous shrub vegetation and the rapidly-growing invasive alien plant species, black locust (Robinia pseudoacacia) from a 48 ha area prior to restoration of semi-dry grasslands and siliceous rock habitat types;
- Introduction of permanent grazing by native breeds of horses on 25 ha at the Mašovickás třelnice site;
- Construction of a 25 ha enclosure for native breeds of horses at the Havranické vřesoviště site;
- Provision of 18 ha of habitat suitable for the Jersey tiger at the Blšanský chlum site.
Environmental issues addressed
Habitats - Grasslands
Species - Plants
Habitats - Rocky and Caves
grassland ecosystem‚ restoration measure‚ disused military site
Target EU Legislation
- Nature protection and Biodiversity
- Directive 92/43 - Conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora- Habitats Directiv ...
Euplagia quadripunctaria Pulsatilla grandis
Target Habitat types
- 2230 - Malcolmietalia dune grasslands
- 4030 - European dry heaths
- 5130 - Juniperus communis formations on heaths or calcareous grasslands
- 6210 - Semi-natural dry grasslands and scrubland facies on calcareous substrates (Festuco-Brometalia) (* important orchid sites)
- 6260 - Pannonic sand steppes
- 8230 - Siliceous rock with pioneer vegetation of the Sedo-Scleranthion or of the Sedo albi-Veronicion dillenii
Natura 2000 sites
Type of organisation NGO-Foundation
Description Beleco is a nature conservation NGO based in the Czech Republic. The company draws on expertise in applied ecology, conservation biology, zoology, botany, agriculture and other fields to deliver a comprehensive understanding of the contribution of ecosystems to quality of life. Beleco promotes
cooperation between the scientific and academic communities and other institutions, public authorities and sustainable companies as well as the general public.
P a r t n e r s
Wetland, s.r.o., Czech Republic
Česká krajina, o.p.s., Czech Republic
Ministerstvo životního prostředí, Czech Republic
Project reference LIFE15 NAT/CZ/001028
Duration 01-SEP-2016 to 31-MAR -2022