The integrated conservation of non-forest natural habitat on military area in Natura 2000 site.
The demonstration project is focused on testing, implementation and dissemination of active conservation measures for inland non-forest natural habitats on military areas in Natura 2000 sites.
The direct aim is to reach the favorauble conservation status of part of the biggest Polish complex of two non-forest habitats, listed in Habitats Directive Annex I (one of the has a priority status): 6120, *6120 – Xeric sand calcareous grasslands and 2330 – Inland dunes with open Corynephorus and Agrostis grasslands.
The national report on the state of conservation of these habitats, prepared by Ministry of Environment in 2007 showed that in both cases conservation status was assessed as U2 bad (it is the worst degree of the assessment scale). It means that we have to undertake urgent actions to maintain these habitat types in Poland by the prompt implementation of conservation measures in the frame of Natura 2000 network. The resources of the mentioned habitats in the Natura 2000 site Pustynia Błędowska, where the submitted project restoration actions are planned make 6,3 % of total Polish coverage of priority sand grasslands (6120, *6120) and 3,9 % of Polish inland dunes (2330). Taking into account total coverage of sand grasslands *6120 within this Natura 2000 site, Pustynia Błędowska is located on the third place between Polish special areas of conservation, and in case of inland dunes 2330 on the fifth place. However among all of Polish sites created for conservation of sand habitats Pustynia Błędowska is the most known and spectacular example of desert-like landscape and at the same time it is very important biodiversity enclave in the highly urbanized landscape of Silesian upland. It was taken as granted that the aim of active conservation measures is the state of open sand habitats as it was in 1958 there are detailed maps that are used in the planning of presented activities.
Actions and means involved:
The crucial action leading to direct improvement of Pustynia Błędowska conservation state is restoration of sand habitats by removal of trees and scrub overgrowing almost whole area of the site (mainly Scots pine Pinus sylvestris, common birch Betula verrucosa, sharp-leaf willow Salix acutifolia, creeping willow Salix arenaria). It should be highlighted that these two willow species were artificially planted in the site a few decades ago.
The whole area of Błędowska Desert was during World War II and later on used as field training site for military purposes. Nowadays only northern part (which is project area) is still under military control (parachuting training). Taking into account that there is still certain danger of misfire explosion the detailed inspection of the area to detect the remains of military use is planned in the project to enable undertaking of active conservation measures (removal of trees and scrub).
One of the most important part of the project is a set of workshops focused on nature conservation in military zones prepared for representative of different army units operating in Natura 2000 sites.
Moreover the good practices natural habitats conservation in military zones will be worked out basing on the detailed scientific monitoring research and disseminated in a widely distributed guidebook (in Polish and English).
Expected results (outputs and quantified achievements):
The improvement of the conservation status of natural habitat within Natura 2000 site Pustynia Błędowska preparation of the area for safety reasons (eliminating of the misfire danger 374,7513 ha).
The demonstration field exposition for trained soldiers will be arranged near the entrance to the military zone.
Publication of the natural habitats in military zones conservation guidebook book in Polish (750 copies) and English (500 copies), ecological paper.
Organization of international conference and the series of 5 training workshops (total number 150 participants trained).
Launching of internet project/site/sand habitats conservation portal (at least 1000 visits/year).
Scientific datasets and inventories.