Site name and code: Żywocickie Łęgi PLH160019
Special Area of Conservation
Site of Community importance since 2011
Area: 101,72 ha
Administrative location: Opole voivodeship: Krapkowice county – municipality of Gogolin and municipality of Krapkowice.
Żywocickie Łęgi is a small area located within the inter-levee lands of the Oder river, on the left and right river bank, approx. 3 km to the south – east of Krapkowice. It is one of 2-3 places in the Opole voivodeship with well-preserved patches of riparian forests of poplar Populetum albae, willow Salicetum albae and oak-elm-ash Ficario-Ulmetum. Both the layer structure of trees and undergrowth are well-developed with characteristic species. The site is located on flat Holocene river terraces with heavy alluvial soil. It is located in the zone of cyclical inundations. There are slits in the depressions representing the former oxbow lakes. There are several oxbow lakes within the area, but they are irrelevant as objects of protection.
The subjects of protection
91E0 Alluvial forests with Alnus glutinosa and Fraxinus excelsior (Alno-Padion, Alnion incanae, Salicion albae)
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
Within Żywocickie Łęgi, habitat 91E0 is represented primarily by riparian forests of willow and poplar, but in places with the participation of probably artificially planted alders. The habitat patches are relatively well developed and preserved. Within the site there is approx. 2% of the national resources of the habitat. Habitat 91F0 is developed in a typical manner, its patches are relatively well preserved. Within the site there is also approx. 2% of the national resources of the habitat. Within the area where patches of both habitats were isolated, an invasive species were found – policeman’s helmet Impatiens glandulifera, which as geographically alien species will be subject to removal.
….. the term of invasive species describes a species of considerable expansiveness, meaning that they have an ability to uncontrollably spread around new areas. Invasive species are often geographically alien species to the region (generally come from other continents). The most common reason for the appearance of invasive species is bringing them to the ecosystem by man without thinking about the impact it would have on native organisms. It is recognized that the expansion of invasive species is the second, after the destruction of plants, fungi and animals habitats, biodiversity limiting factor.
….. in Polish legislation, there is a concept of an alien species whose release into the environment can threaten native species or natural habitats. A permit must be obtained for importation, keeping, breeding, reproduction and selling such species. Doing it without a permission is prohibited!
….. the amount of alien species in flora and fauna of Poland is already so large that most people have a problem identifying which plants and animals are native species. A perfect example of lack of knowledge of native species is putting red oak leaf on the coins of 1, 2 and 5 groszy, which is a species naturally occurring in North America.