Last weeks’ stormy weather caused damages in the oakwoods of Nagykőrös too. Whereas rain means life, a chance for surviving for an oak living on a dry grassland.
Several old oak trees was swept down by the strong wind. Many of them fell onto roads or the game fences. Although the huge trunks were removed from the roads and fences they didn’t get to the sawmill. The cracked and fallen treetrunks are necessary to keep the natural balance of a woods. A dead tree means home for a lot of insects, birds nest and bats live in its hollows. Whereas stormy weather can be fatal to birds living in the woods. Lots of fallen birdnests and dead chicks are found these days. Since the chicks has just started to leave the nests whichever are not strong enough to resist the wind, dies.
All the 12 species of bats observed in the woods of Nagykőrös are neither fond of storms. This small mammals feed on insects, not on blood, as the horror stories suggests, and since insects don’t fly in strong wind they can’t find enough food. However they never despair. They have a unique technique to survive these unfavourable times: until sunny days return, they sleep in their hideout similarly as they hibernate in the winter.
The spring rain is a real blessing for the most important creature in a woods: the tree. Especially here, where the sandy soil can only keep little moisture. If there isn’t enough rain at the time of foliation moisture stored in the soil is absorbed by the old trees leaving the upper layer dry. In this case saplings, which roots don’t go too deep, can’t get enough water and die easily.
In 2009 60 hectares were replanted by native trees such as common oaks, grey poplars and mixture species as part of the habitat rehabilitation. However most of the saplings didn’t last until autumn because of the drought proving that drying out is one of the main threat for the dry grasslands. At spring we applied a new soilpreparing technology at afforestation which allowed the roots of saplings to get deeper. Thanks to the plenty of rain at spring it is fair to say that the replantation will be successful at this time: the saplings are growing into young trees in a couple of years.
The huge rainfalls nowadays made the upper layer of soil soaking wet ensuring the water supplement more or less. Summer drought is common between the River Danube and Tisza, therefore to avoid drought is worth a try to keep the water on surface, where it doesn’t mean threat to settlements. This happened with Brook Gógány running through the woods in Nagykőrös. The local hunting company working together with water management company has built a temporary weir in the channel to keep the waterlevel high. This way Brook Gógány doesn’t carry all the water to River Tisza, but distributes some of it on the terrain lying deeper. Thanks to this the woods are protected from devastation of drought for the time being. Alas in Csókás woods on the other side of the road water can’t be reserved since it is situated 5 feet higher. Who would have thought that this minimal difference in altitude is so significant?
As the recent heavy rainfalls filled up the cellars in Nagykőrös, we even had to save tools out of the water in the office of LIFE programme. However we must remember in spite of damage and sorrow that in Homokhátság, which is often mentioned as a desertification area, water means life.