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The Desert and the River

THE TAMED DESERT

The open sands in this area were reforested 200 years ago thanks to tireless activities of the forester Jan Bedrich Bechtel. He was aware that the area was originally covered by extensive oak forests. However, to restore them proved not possible, as the acorns and oak seedlings could not survive in the extremely dry conditions of the drift sands.

oak seedling

Bechtel tried pine seeds instead. The first attempts resulted in small, slow growing trees. The seeds were of unknown origin, probably from an area with different climate. Bechtel started to gather seeds from local pine trees and the next planting proved his idea to be a good one – the new seedlings were healthier and more resilient. He faced bigger problems when reforesting clearings. Unlike open sands, the clearings tended to overgrow with thick, tall grass which robbed the seedlings of water, light, and nutrients. Bechtel solved this by planting the clearings temporarily with agricultural crops; potatoes in 1st year prepared the soil and when the seedlings were planted in 2nd year, rye was sown among them. By cultivating the soil and looking after the crop, local people helped keep the tall grass in check, which significantly improved the chances of the young trees for survival.

Apart from pine, birch was used here, too, as both these tree species are able to grow in hot and dry conditions. They help prepare conditions (humus, shade, and retaining moisture) for the plantings of more less resilient trees, like oak. Thus oak has been gradually making its way back to the original “Oak Forest”.

GPS position

N 48° 55.858', E 17° 16.676'
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Contact

Vzdělávací a informační středisko Bílé Karpaty, o.p.s.
Marie Petrů
Tel.:518 322 545
e-mail:visbk@bilekarpaty.cz
http://www.bilekarpaty.cz