Szlak Orlich Gniazd - The Kraków-Częstochowa Upland

Дата добавления: 29 августа 2013
The Kraków-Częstochowa Upland

An important element of the Kraków-Częstochowa Upland terrain, determining its unique landscape, are karst formations. They occur in most parts of the region’s carbonate rocks, including the most common here Upper Jurassic limestones. These formations are mainly caves (of which over 1700 were inventoried in the Upland), karst valleys, depressions devoid of surface runoffs, numerous karst springs (eg springs of Warta and Pilica), as well as a variety of formations developed on the surfaces of exposed rocks

The varied terrain and volatility of the bedrock and microclimate related to it (eg, between the hills and valleys) conditioned, in the ongoing from the Ice Age process, the creation of a rich and diverse vegetation. It is made up of about 1,500 species of vascular plants (flowering), which constitutes a half of Polish flora. Characteristic in this is a mosaic-like arrangement of plant communities, the occurring together of ecologically opposing species. Among the natural communities, forests draw most attention. On the hilltop of the southern part of the Upland dominant are species-rich mixed coniferous forests; in the North they give way to poor pinewoods anchored in sandy soils. Next to them are widespread oak-hornbean forests, i.e. multi-specied deciduous forests growing on limestone substrate. However, the plant formations of the highest natural value are still the relict mountain forests: sycamore and beechwood forests. The first is found only in the regions of Ojców, Tenczynek, Jaroszowiec and Ruskie Góry reserve, the latter includes the Carpathian beechwood forest (typical for montane level of the Carpathians), which in the Upland reaches up to Rabsztyn, and the Sudetian beechwoods, which distinguishes itself with its slightly different composition of groundcover and occurres in Częstochowa Upland. Sycamore and beechwood forests cover north-facing slopes, cool and shaded. There are many mountain species in their groundcover, such as Cardamine glanduligera (Carpathian beechwoods) and drooping bittercress (Sudetian beechwoods), goat's beard, White Butterbur, wood speedwell, Moldavian Monkshood, Hard Shield Fern and perennial honesty (sycamore forests). The great peculiarity of the Uplands are epilithic thermophilous Sudetian beechwoods, also called orchidaceus after orchids growing in the groundcover, such as lady's slipper orchid, lesser butterfly-orchid, northern coralroot, sword- and broad-leaved hellerborines. Those beechwoods, in Poland occuring also in the Pieniny Mountains, occupy the most dry and sunny slopes, especially in the central part of the Upland. Among the non-forest vegetation noteworthy are the colorful, species-rich xerotermic grasslands, with a large proportion of plants of south-eastern origin and saxiculous grasslands with popular houseleeks and stonecrops. There are also plants that do not occur outside the Upland (endemites), such as Galium cracoviense found only on the rocks in Olsztyn area, or Cochlearia polonica rescued from extinction in its native habitat in the headwaters of the river Biała Przemsza by means of introduction to the headwaters of Wiercica Valley, Centuria near Zawiercie and Rajecznica in Irządze. In addition to the endemites, a number of other species is worth mentioning, such as mountain plants: perennial cornflower (in the Upland occurring only in Prądnik Valley), Leopard's Bane (growing by the springs of Biała Przemsza), corn lily (found in Dulowska Wilderness); among xerotermic grassland plants: a rare and extremely decorative feather grass (known only from Ojców), Stipa capillata of Dłubnia Valley and Breckland Speedwell, which in Poland grows only in the region of Jerzmanowice and the Nida Basin.


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