North-Eastern Leithagebirge Mountains

kuhschellen_fiala
The 6,317 ha large area was nominated or defined respectively according to the Council Directive as well as according to the Bird Sanctuary Directive. Considering the natural area, the North-eastern Leithagebirge Mountains are adjacent to the Lake Neusiedl Area in the south-east, over long distances the lower forest border resulting from utilization forms the border between those two areas. The major part of it, approximately 75%, is covered by thermophilic oak forests and oak-hornbeam forests. Only in the military training area Bruckneudorf and on the southern slopes of the Leithagebirge Mountains towards Jois open cultural areas have been preserved. Richly structured vineyards with copses and scattered individual fruit trees characterize the upper parts of the slopes.

A few remaining parts of former ample orchards can be found in the Hanftal Valley near Jois. The unwooded surfaces in the military training area are used for agricultural purposes as well as for extensively used meadows. On hilltops with shallow soil layers, isolated patches of dry arid grassland that was used for grazing once and has now turned into bushland have survived. In spite of mostly intensive forestry utilisation, the site-specific forest communities have been preserved due to the low-forest and coppice with standard forest management that was common in that region.
Relatively short rotation periods and the usual clear cutting practices result in the fact that structure and dynamics of the existing forests do not correspond to the original undisturbed appearance, natural, that is autochthone forests biocenoses that are more or less complete in their species mix have, however, been preserved. schneegloeckchen_fialaCurrent forestry developments tend to stress an extensification of wood utilization (before all fire wood untilization) so in the short and medium term, forest management will presumably not endanger forest ecosystems or bird species living in the forest (in particular woodpeckers and hole-nesting birds). The usual clear-cutting practices in oak forests lead to large and dry clear-cut patches which to a high degree correspond to the habitat requirements of the European Nightjar (Caprimulgus europaeus). So the traditional forms of utilization of oak-hornbeam forests do fundamentally not clash with the objectives of bird protection in that area. There are, however, problems with the increasing accessibility of (so far) closed forest stands by forest trails and forest areas with non-native tree species (e.g. with the Locust as an invasive species) that should be turned back into natural forest vegetations. Natural regeneration of autochthone species and thus modification of forest stands with non-indigenous trees should be promoted with all possible effort.
nordoestliches_leithagebirge_fialaProtected Features:

Compared to the adjacent pSCI Lake Neusiedl – Seewinkel, the area only comprises a smaller number of species types. With regard to area covered, different types of forest communities are  predominant in that area. Along the River Leitha small areas of 91E0 *Residual alluvial forests with Alnus glutinosa and Fraxinus excelsior (Alno-Padion, Alnion incanae, Salicion albae) can be found. More than 95% of the forest areas are covered with Oak-Hornbeam-Forests (91G0 *Pannonian woods with Quercus petraea and Carpinus betulus ) as well as 91H0 * Pannonian woods with Quercus pubescens or their substitute forestry communities. Sites with dry grasslands comprise habitat types such as 6110 * Rupicolous calcareous or basophilic grasslands of the Alysso-Sedion albi, *6210 Semi-natural dry grasslands and scrubland facies: on calcareous substrates (Festuco-Brometalia) (*important orchid sites) and 6240 *Subpannonic steppic grasslands. The mesophilic meadows can be categorized as type 6510 Lowland hay meadows (Alopecurus pratensis, Sanguisorba officinalis).

Among the species listed in Annex II of the Council Directive 92/43/EEC the following animals occur in representative numbers in that area: The Stag Beetle (Lucanus cervis) and the Great Capricorn Beetle (Cerambyx cerdo), two beetle species mainly preferring oak stands rich in mature and dead wood. A bush-cricket (Isophya costata) lives in the meadows of the army training area with its long-stemmed grasses. Among the bats there are occurrences of Geoffroy’s Bat (Myotis emarginatus), the Greater Mouse-Eared Bat (Myotis myotis), Bechstein’s Bat (Myotis bechsteini), the Lesser Horseshoe Bat (Rhinolophus hipposideros) and the Barbastelle Bat (Barbastella barbastellus) as protected species. The Greater Pasque Flower (Pulsatilla grandis) and the Adriatic Lizard Orchid (Himantoglossum adriaticum) are floristic protected features.

The ornithological importance of the area derives from the occurrences of the European Nightjar (Caprimulgus europaeus), the Black Woodpecker (Dryocopos martius), the Middle Spotted Woodpecker (Dendrocopos medius) and the Collared Flycatcher (Ficedula albicollis) that partly achieve Austrian-wide importance. In the open areas of the richly structured cultural landscape there are remarkable occurrences of the Corncrake (Crex crex), the Syrian Woodpecker (Dendrocopos syriacus), the Woodlark (Lululla arborea), the Barred Warbler (Sylvia nisoria) and the Red-backed Shrike (Lanius collurio) worth mentioning.

 

 

There are, however, problems with the increasing accessibility of (so far) closed forest stands by forest trails and forest areas with non-native tree species (e.g. with the Locust as an invasive species) that should be turned back into natural forest vegetations. Natural regeneration of autochthone species and thus modification of forest stands with non-indigenous trees should be promoted with all possible effort.