• Naturschutzbund Burgenland
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  • Naturschutzbund Burgenland
  • Naturschutzbund Burgenland
  • Naturschutzbund Burgenland
  • Naturschutzbund Burgenland

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Zurndorf Oakforest and Hutweide, a former open grazing land

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The European Conservation Area is situated about 3 km south of Zurndorf in an arid valley that developed during the ice-ages in the north-eastern part of the tableland Parndorfer Platte. The area is divided into two almost completely different habitat types: The main part with about 100 ha is covered with wood. The ‘Hutweide’, a former open grazing land is situated in the north-east on the slopes of the arid valley. The Zurndorf Oak Forest is the best preserved forest stand of the Parndorfer Platte. About 70 ha of the heterogenous stands, small sites of which are utilized as low-forest, can be regarded as oak forest on loess (Aceri tatarici-Quercetum).

The forest is surrounded by agricultural land which partly forms deep indentations into the closed forest stands. At the south-eastern border of the area the proportion of Downy Oaks is higher than in the remaining parts. There are also a few small patches of dwarf Russian almond bushes growing in front of the edge of the wood. In the east and northwest part of the wood, locust stands grow that were the result of afforestation on parts of the former Hutweide.

zurndorfer_eichenwald1_fiala Xerophilic silicate dry grassland that is used for grazing covers the hilltops and slopes. In the dips and flat parts, mown semi-dry grassland with Erect Brome can be found. The grassland is interspersed with bushes that were subjected to deshrubbing measures at the beginning of the 1990ies. At the northern border of the area there is a 2 ha large False Oat Grass-hay meadow.

Protected Features:

The main part of the forest is covered by oak forest on loess (Aceri tatarici-Quercetum) corresponding to the Council Directive habitat type 91I0 * Euro-Siberian steppic woods with Quercus spp.

In the north-western part of the area, the lowest parts of the Zurndorf Oak Forest, there are about 6 ha of riparian mixed forest with Common Ash and Narrow-leafed Ash (Fraxinus excelsior x angustifolia) corresponding to the habitat type 91F0 Riparian mixed forests of Quercus robur, Ulmus laevis and Ulmus minor, Fraxinus excelsior or Fraxinus angustifolia, along the great rivers (Ulmenion minoris).

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The Zurndorf ’Hutweide’, a former open grazing land, is covered by xerophilic silicate dry grassland (Avenulo pratensis-Festucetum valesiacae ranunculetosum illyrici) on the dry shallow-soiled hilltops and slopes, by mesophilic stands of dominant Erect Brome (Bromus erectus) in flat sites and on deeper soil layers. The silicate dry grassland corresponds to habitat type 6240 * Sub-Pannonic steppic grasslands, whereas the semi-dry grasslands with Erect Brome are a vegetation community of the type 6210 *Semi-natural dry grasslands and scrubland facies on calcareous substrates (Festuco-Brometalia). In the northern part there is a small patch of False Oat Grass-hay meadow corresponding to the Council Directive Type 6510 Lowland hay meadows (Alopecurus pratensis, Sanguisorba officinalis).

The oak forest is hunting ground for bats such as the Barbastelle Bat (Barbastella barbastellus). The ‘Hutweide’ is habitat for the European Ground Squirrel (Spermophilus citellus).

The Zurndorf ’Hutweide’, a former open grazing land, is covered by xerophilic silicate dry grassland (Avenulo pratensis-Festucetum valesiacae ranunculetosum illyrici) on the dry shallow-soiled hilltops and slopes, by mesophilic stands of dominant Erect Brome (Bromus erectus) in flat sites and on deeper soil layers. The silicate dry grassland corresponds to habitat type 6240 * Sub-Pannonic steppic grasslands, whereas the semi-dry grasslands with Erect Brome are a vegetation community of the type 6210 *Semi-natural dry grasslands and scrubland facies on calcareous substrates (Festuco-Brometalia). In the northern part there is a small patch of False Oat Grass-hay meadow corresponding to the Council Directive Type 6510 Lowland hay meadows (Alopecurus pratensis, Sanguisorba officinalis).