Xerothermic grassland is a thermophilic plant community that rises above the sun-drenched edges of river valleys. Their evolution is not a completely natural process. They are present where ever the forests were cut and the animals were grazed over the years, mostly sheep. This type of extensive farming has contributed to the settlement of dry and warm climatic vegetation that has come here from the south of Europe. The valleys of the rivers, especially their southern and western, intensely sunlated slopes, create ideal conditions for xerotherms. The dominant vegetation of such communities are grasses and herbs. They just give the grasslands a characteristic look of the steppe. Among them are many rare and endangered species. In Owczary we can see many species of grasses, among them two species of ostentatious: Stipa joannis, the more common feather spawn or Boehmer's timothy. Among the beautifully flowering plants are: Bolognese and Siberian bells, and lilac arachnid. It is also worthwhile to come to Owczary to see the characteristic "bushes" of the field owl, which occur here quite numerous. Unquestionable opportunity will also encounter Orobanche sp., a parasitic plant. Characteristic scent of turf is attributed to clumps of sand paradise and meadow sage.

Unfortunately economic transformation in agriculture has led to the cessation of grazing, which directly contributed to the overgrowth of grasslands with blackthorn bushes, hawthorn, roses, acacia, as well as blackberries and reeds. At present, to maintain the undoubted values ​​of grasslands, active protection is required. Therefore, from the beginning of the Station operation, we have introduced animal grazing. We breed sheep of heather breeds, Polish horses and goats. These animals are not accidentally selected. Heather Sheep and Polish Horse are old native breeds, perfectly adapted to our climatic conditions, not very nutritional and relatively resistant to diseases. Sheeps are also small, agile, well-groomed animals in hilly terrain that are the edges of the river valley. The protection of grasslands in the form of almost daily (from spring to autumn) of grazing animals is additionally assisted by actions of removing of bushes.

Xerothermic grassland is one of the habitats protected under the Habitats Directive of the European Union. Many xerothermic species are protected. Grasslands in Owczary are also the private Club's nature reserve.

It is worth mentioning here is that about 2 km away from Owczary, a nature reserve in Pamięcin is situated, which the Club takes care of, organizing bush and pine shrubs removing. 

We also invite you to visit our grassland websites:

LIFE project concerning conservation of xerothermic grasslands in Poland


Xerothermic grassland Database (in PL)