We sowed 300 kg oak acorns with volunteers along the slopes of the Fóti-Somlyó on the 26-27 of March. This was one of the first and most significant steps while performing the LIFE4OakForests project in the sites of the Duna-Ipoly National Park Directorate.
The hill of Fóti-Somlyó is highly infected with invasive, alien species. These species, like the black locust or the ailanthus decrease the biodiversity of the remaining NATURA 2000 pubescent oak forests. In contrast to the oak forests these artificial forests provide less suitable habitats for the great variety of species, which were more abundant in the local, native forests. Thus, while sowing oak acorns we will restore these valuable and endangered habitats. In the future these forests will serve as nesting and breeding places, as well as it will provide shelters and food resources for insects, birds, bats and mammals.
For sowing we used oak acorns from the region because these are genetically well adapted to the local environmental changes. The acorns were sowed under the black locusts, which is a special conservation management action under test. The idea is that the black locust trees will provide enough shelter for the growing oak seedlings, because these seedlings require semi-shade, and the black locust trees will be treated and carefully removed after two years when the seedling are strong enough. The sites (2 ha) were also fenced to exclude the impact of wild boar.
We appreciate the help of 11 volunteers who came among others form the ELTE-ÁJK. During the work the volunteers gained practical knowledge how to perform different conservation management actions in forests. They also learned about the natural values and history of the Fóti-Somlyó. For lunch we had deer goulash on one day and sheep stew on the other day. In the work 17 stuff members participated from the WWF Hungary, Bükki National Park Directorate, MTA-Ecological Research Centre and from the Duna-Ipoly National Park Directorate. We are grateful for all your contributions!
Our task is not over yet! The goal is to nurse the seedlings and later the trees for 80-100 years to realize the desired oak forest habitats!