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Expert study on restoration of riparian forest stands and vegetation (A.3)

The action A.3 was processed since February 2014. The study has covered two main parts; first focused on localities with the bank vegetation negatively affected by intensive commercial forest management and the second to places where according the actual forest-management plans the cutting of plantation growths are planned. The main attention has been devoted to obtain and process actual information about planned forest measures within project site especially SPAs Dunajské luhy and Záhorske Pomoravie. Number of meetings with experts from SNC SR and Lesy SR were carried out during the study preparation. Highly positive result for both – the expert study and also realization of C.3 action is fact that for new decennium we managed several changes in forest management plans. It was achieved the re-categorization of several forest stands from commercial to special-purpose forests including several riparian forests within SPA Dunajské luhy. Thanks to this fact these stands are not purposed for commercial use and old trees as well as uprooted trees will be left without any intervention.

As part of this preparatory action mapping of riparian forests focused on searching of old trees and native tree species has been also realised. Mapped old growth trees and/or and native tree species within monocultures of hybrid poplars or other forests stands designated for felling were marked and preserved also within forest stands which are intensively commercially used. About 200 of the mapped and identified trees are of exceptional quality, represent typical examples of particular native tree species and have parameters to be potentially designated as protected trees (protection of individual old trees according Act. No. 543/2002 on Nature and landscape protection). For these trees basic data as the tree species, trunk perimeter in breast high as well as GPS coordinates were recorded.

During elaboration of the study, it was decided that the study will primary focus on SPA Dunajské luhy, rather than other SPAs and project sites. SPA Dunajské luhy is far the most important SPA for the population of kingfishers comparing to other SPAs/ project sites. As the other SPAs targeted are also very large (Záhorské Pomoravie, Dolné Považie) and project resources are limited, it was decided that the realisation of action C.3 based on this study will take place only in the SPA Dunajské luhy. There is also the highest need for enlargement of the natural riparian forest stands and vegetation, as the intensive commercial forestry in the area has changed large areas of natural forest to monocultures of non-native hybrid poplars. In comparison to the SPA Dunajské luhy, forests of the SPA Záhorské Pomoravie are largely represented by natural forests and natural tree species composition. Also there are several large forest Nature reserves designated in the past (e.g. Horný les and Dolný les Nature reserves), where natural forests and riparian vegetation are legally protected. Due to these facts, the priority of action C.3 was fully focused on the SPA Dunajské luhy.