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The Desert and the River


The drift sands consist mostly of grains of silica (silicon dioxide, or SiO2 – usually quartz here), which do not weather (disintegrate) any further. They are highly permeable, which means that water passes through them very quickly and they get dry fast. The thermal conductivity of drift sands is not very good – the surface gets very hot, while right underneath it is cold. The soil types forming on the sands are not well developed and have very little humus (this means they are poor in nutrients).

Moravian Sahara

Despite these extreme climatic conditions and low content of nutrients in the soil a complex of light oak forests (Doubrava = Oak Forest) developed. During the Middle Ages most of the original oak forests were cut and extensive grazing destroyed the remaining vegetation – this uncovered vast areas of sands which the winds continually moved from place to place, creating sand dunes. The local people started to refer to the area as “The Moravian Sahara”.

True to the desert and semi-desert character of the landscape, in windy weather clouds of sand and dirt visible from afar regularly buried the roads and settled on the villages and fields surrounding the area. People were afraid of the open sands spreading further and supported efforts for reforestation. After many failed attempts the area was finally reforested thanks to the life-long patient work of the forester Jan Bedrich Bechtel.

GPS position

N 48° 55.914', E 17° 16.772'



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Marie Petrů
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