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The Desert and the River


Vojenske cviciste (Military Training Area) is the name of a small nature reserve which can be found about 1km south of Bzenec.

One may wonder why a military training area should be interesting for nature conservation. The drift sands typical vegetation and wildlife protected here benefited from the former army training activities – these regularly disturbed the top layer of sand and the vegetation cover and helped the rare semi-desert species to survive the competition of taller common plants, shrubs, and pine trees.

The seemingly inhospitable area of drift sands is very valuable for nature conservation. The pine forests in the area had originally been planted to stop the “desert” spreading further. Today, the small drift sands reserves are the only remaining islands preserving the rare open sands vegetation. When left without intervention, open sands soon grow over with scrub and trees, the rare plants are suppressed by common species and eventually disappear – and with them also a lot of specific insects and other invertebrates. The Army stopped using the training area in the late 1990s and a new way of preserving the open sands had to be found. The alternative still involves rather “drastic” conservation measures like cutting out shrubs and trees, disturbing the surface vegetation, and removing the top layer of soil. Such methods would be unacceptable in nature reserves with different vegetation, but the drift sands rare species here would not be able to survive without them.

GPS position

N 48° 57.670', E 17° 17.240'



Vzdělávací a informační středisko Bílé Karpaty, o.p.s.
Marie Petrů
Tel.:518 322 545