Parndorf Heathland

The Parndorf Heathland is situated about 1 km east-north-east of the village centre of Parndorf at the north-western edge of the tableland Parndorfer Platte about 3 km east of the utmost spurs of the Leithagebirge Mountains and about 7 km north of the shores of Lake Neusiedl. It is the remaining part of an old ‘Hutweide’ - once covering a much larger area, a pasture on which shepherds in former times tended all kind of livestock such as cattle or horses. Thanks to a population of European Ground Squirrels living there, 7.45 ha of the area were declared nature conservation area in 1992. The western half of the area comprises sub-pannonic grassland forming the habitat for the European Ground Squirrel.

The eastern part is covered by higher growing dry grassland, again and again the plain is interrupted by rubble hills overgrown with various plants and formed out of material left after the destruction of bunker facilities. Locust forests mark the northern border of this area. The close surroundings of the Parndorf Heathland are characterized by ruderal fallow land, locust reforestations and an industrial park.

parndorfer_platte_zurndorf_bergProtected Features:

The importance of this area and its nomination are based on the existence of a European Ground Squirrel colony (Spermophilus citellus). This colony of about 200 animals is among the largest in the Burgenland. The Hutweide Parndorf is one of their last shelters providing an ideal habitat for the European Ground Squirrel due to the fine-grain sandy soil substrate and the low-growing vegeta- tion of a Wallis Fescue-dry grassland. Since the heath land was declared nature protection area in 1992, maintenance measures such as grazing and mowing have been performed so that ideal habitat conditions can be guaranteed for the Ground Squirrel colony. The area is mainly covered by Wallis Fescue-dry grassland (Poo angustifoliae-Festucetum valesiacae, Avenulo pratensis-Festucetum valesiacae) corresponding to the Council Directive habitat type 6240 *Subpannonic steppic grassland. Despite the small area covered and the rather low plant species diversity, the dry grassland stands are in a good state.