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what are xerothermic grasslands?  |  what are the threats to xerothermic grasslands?  |  how can we protect xerothermic grasslands?


In the last few decades, the drastic disappearance of xerothermic vegetation is being observed throughout Europe. Far reaching changes in land use is considered the main cause of this loss, mainly the abandonment of extensive herding practices, afforestation and plowing of grasslands, the use of fertilizers and sowing highly productive species, in other words, agricultural intensification. This process is also quite evident in Poland. It is estimated that in the last 30 years, the area of well preserved xerothermic grasslands in Poland has decreased to barely 30% of what it was in the mid-1970s. If this process is not stopped in the next decades, we can expect over 80% of sites with rare xerothermic species to disappear, including the extinction of several species. This problem is especially acute for isolated sites, in grasslands with a small area and far from settlements, with little chance of having their former agricultural use restored. There are many such sites, some have been brought under protection in the form of reserves or environmental use areas, but they are disappearing rapidly because they are not being used nor actively managed for their preservation.