Site name and code: Łęg Zdzieszowicki PLH160011
Site of Community Importance since 2011
Area: 619,9 ha
Administrative location: Opole voivodeship: Krapkowice county – municipality of Zdzieszowice; Kędzierzyn-Koźle county – municipality of Reńska Wieś and municipality of Kędzierzyn-Koźle
Site of Community importance Łęg Zdzieszowicki is a complex of well-preserved, but becoming slightly oak-hornbeam forests, riparian ash-elm forests on the Odra river. It is the only so well preserved forest complex in this part of the Odra valley. The refugium is located within the floodplain areas of the river valley on the lowest terraces of Holocene. The geological and soil layer is dominated by heavy alluvial soil. Locally there are silts. Within the refugium there are the Odra oxbow lakes found in different stages of geomorphological development and ecological succession. The main forest-building species are pedunculate oak and common hornbeam, and in places there are common ash and elm trees. The undergrowth is dominated by flowering in early spring plants, e.g. snowdrop, fumewort, holewort and lesser celandine. Because of the age of tree stands Łęg Zdzieszowicki is the habitat of many interesting species of birds associated with hollows, such as collared flycatcher and woodpeckers (including green, grey-headed, black, middle-spotted).
The subjects of protection
3150 Natural eutrophic lakes with Magnopotamion or Hydrocharition – type vegetation
3270 Rivers with muddy banks with Chenopodion rubri p.p. and Bidention p.p. vegetation
6430 Hydrophilous tall herb fringe communities of plains and of the montane to alpine levels
6510 Lowland hay meadows (Alopecurus pratensis, Sanguisorba officinalis)
91F0 Riparian mixed forests of Quercus robur, Ulmus laevis and Ulmus minor, Fraxinus excelsior or Fraxinus angustifolia, along the great rivers (Ulmenion minoris)
A description of the subjects of protection within the site
Two species of amphibians (fire-bellied toad and great crested newt) and one species of beetle (hermit beetle) are under protection within the site. The amphibians breed mainly in occurring in the Łęg Zdzieszowicki site natural eutrophic lakes, which as a natural habitat are also protected. Hermit beetle is associated with old trees forming a local stand. Natural habitats represented most numerously within the site are riparian forests of oak-elm-ash covering an area of over 400 hectares. The habitat, due to limited flooding of the Odra, is transforming more and more into oak-hornbeam forests.
….. Polish name for hermit beetle comes from the scent of male beetles. Unlike most species of insects it is the hermit male that lures female. The second part of the Latin name hermit beetle (eremita) loosely translated means a recluse or hermit. Because the beetles run a very secretive way of life they can be observed in the warmest days of summer near a tree hollow, that is their place of growth.
….. oxbow lakes are formed by altering the course of the river, mostly by cutting so called meanders. Today, when most rivers have been regulated there is practically no natural formation of oxbow lakes, so their conservation is so important.
….. rivers with muddy banks are one of the most ephemeral natural habitats protected under the Natura 2000 network. Its formation is associated with silts dumped by the river at the time of floods. Excessive regulation of rivers and changing the water regime of watercourses is leading to the disappearance of muddy river banks and thus also to the disappearance of pioneer plants within this habitat.
….. from the Zdzieszowice direction you can reach the site only by ferry plying on the Odra river. Interestingly, the ferry is human powered and each traveler is simply obliged to help with crossing to the other side.