Xerothermic grasslands

Xerothermic grasslands are grassy communities resembling steppesprairies and pampas occurring in the dry climate of the temperate zone. In Poland they are associated with a wetter and cooler climate and are found very rarely, mainly on the edges of river valleys, on their southern and south-western slopes, strongly insolated and exposed to intensive evaporation of water from the soil. The formation of grasslands is favoured by unstable ground, landslides, fires, and human activity - extensive mowing and grazing of livestock. Xerothermic grasslands are one of the most beautiful plant communities, full of flowering, perennials waving in the wind and visited by numerous species of insects - especially bees, butterflies, and birds. Many species of plants and animals associated with the grasslands are rare and threatened with extinction. The grasslands in Owczary are considered to be one of the best-preserved xerothermic grasslands in Poland. Klub Przyrodników has been taking care of the grasslands in Owczary for over 20 years. Grazing of sheep, goats and horses has been restored, supported by cutting of expansive thickets, especially blackthorn, hawthorn and black locust, and local extensive mowing. The greatest threat to the existence of grasslands in Poland and Europe in recent years is the change of land use - the cessation of animal grazing and mowing, afforestation, conversion to arable land and settlements development.

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