The Life + "the Beskids" project was created to protect the non-forest habitats encountered in the Beskids. Within the framework of this conservation, a series of actions have been planned, aimed at preventing from overgrowing alps as well as clearings and spreading of expansive species, adversely affecting the protected species development. The current work will improve the habitat conditions by:
- the active protection of approximately 500 ha of a Nardus grasslands and 50 ha of clearings, where a bluebell is located,
- improve the understanding of treatments’ system and effects - environmental monitoring,
- raising the ecological awareness of the local community.
To familiarize all interested persons with active protection actions, we present below the description of the tasks within the project.
C.1. Removal of trees and shrubs self-seedings
The action consists in removing of trees and shrubs saplings with a trunk thickness up to 20 cm from the designated alps surface and clearings, covered by the Project, which covers approximately 120 ha. The obtained biomass is removed from the surface, and then subjected to reprocessing. The designated areas were identified during the environmental monitoring conducted under the Project. The operation was conducted in 2014 and 2016.
C.2. Single meadow growths and grasslands mowing, along with the removal of biomass
The action includes single mowing of overgrown alps and clearings on a total area of over 550 ha, with the removal of formed biomass beyond the alp. As a result of mowing vegetation, the creation of the appropriate habitat conditions is expected for the regeneration and preservation of valuable habitats. The mowing was conducted in the third and the fourth quarter of 2014 and also in the fourth quarter of 2016.
C.3. The patches of alpine sorrel mowing along with the removal of biomass
The aim of this action is to eliminate the damages caused by overgrown clearings and alps by alpine sorrel – the expansive species, which is a troublesome pasture weed, that displaces native and valuable plant species at a rapid pace. The work have been scheduled for 50 ha in the years 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017. The work in 2014-2016 were conducted twice during the season - before the first flowering of alpine sorrel at the turn of June and July, and before reflowering in September. The work in 2017 will be made once in June.
C.4. Sowing of native plant species where the alpine sorrel occurs
The sowing of native species consists in biomass scattering, containing the seeds of native plant species, consistent with the collection that occurs at the alp to supplement the seed pool of native, nonexpansive plants. This refers to the places where previously the patches of alpine sorrel were sowed. The task is carried out in three stages in the years 2014-2016: and covers the area of 3 ha of dense patches of alpine sorrel with the area exceeding 25 m2 located in the Rysiance and Lipowska Alp. The scattered biomass derives from the areas that adjacent to the sown alps, according to the types of congeries in the alp. The action has been carried out three times and completed according to the schedule.
C.5. Grazing in alps and clearings
Within the framework of the Life + the Beskids project, there were formed three grazing complexes where one thousand sheep and fifty rams, purchased for the activities related to the active nature protection in the Beskids, are grazed. The grazing takes place every year on the same surfaces in 3 grazing complexes, created as part of the Project: Complex I - 145 ha, Complex II – 257 ha, Complex III - 40 ha. In 2017, there is planned to extend this action for the further two - smaller - grazing complexes, which complement the grazing areas, as well as particularly valuable with regard to the nature.
C.6. Execution of pastoral infrastructure
By virtue of the conducted action, regarding the sheep grazing and promoting the idea of pastoralism in areas covered by the activities of the Project, there is planned the execution of pastoral infrastructure, necessary to a grazing sheep and which is the place of the traditional processing of sheep's milk and the production of traditional regional products. As part of this action, there were purchased the protective elements for grazing sheep, such as fladry, panel barracks, watering holes. Three pastoral complexes were built – shepherd’s huts in the villages: Kamesznica Zlatna, Ciecina and Rycerka Gorna. The work were completed in March 2015. In connection with the extension of the project for the further two pasture complexes, in 2017 it will be bought also the infrastructure which is necessary to grazing.
C.7. Execution of tourist infrastructure
The action includes two types of tasks related to the implementation of tourist infrastructure. As part of the activities, 21 informational-educational boards were performed and located in the area and there were built two observation platforms at the viewpoints of the Project areas. The tourist boards perform informative and educational functions and also direct the tourist movement in the Beskids. The viewpoints were built in 2014 on two hills: Duzy Rachowiec in Zwardon and Old Gron in Brenna. The platforms are available for use by tourists and the implementers of the Project.
In order to promote social awareness and popularize the Project results, there are three forms of publication: leaflet, Textbook of Good Pastoral Practices (3 000 pcs.) and multimedia album (1000 pcs.), describing the assumptions of the Project and the expected ecological effects. These materials are available free of charge at the ZPKWS office in Zywiec.