Blšanský Chlum (Blšany Hillock), a Europe’s special area of conservation, is located on the eastern edge of the township of Louny, and is dominated by the basaltic hilltop of the same name, flanked by the somewhat smaller "Malý Chlum". In the past, this was a military training area, but active training was discontinued at the beginning of the 1990s. Currently, most of the territory is covered with thermophilic, broad-leaved grasses with scattered bushes, and by steppe communities on the slopes of the basaltic knobs. The former training grounds for troops provide suitable conditions for the presence of many rare and endangered plant and animal species. In recognition of the unique importance of this site, Blšany Hillock was entered on the list of Europe’s special areas of conservation, and thus became a part of Natura 2000, the system of protected areas of community importance.
The presence of many endangered plant and animal species (such as the 'Jersey Tiger', in fact a butterfly) was made possible by the previous form of usage of this land – military training. Frequent movements on the ground by troops and heavy technology prevented the propagation of shrubs and kept the grassy vegetation in optimal condition. Today, no such activities take place, and brushwood has thus been given free reign to propagate and gradually suffocate the grassland underneath. Even those areas that are not yet covered by such vegetation have been deteriorating, as reed grass is fast invading the meadows.
The project Natura in Green wants to put an end to the adverse impact of vegetative succession, and restore suitable conditions for endangered plants and animals. For this reason, management is carried out by using methods of removal of self-seeding shrubs and pasture of sheeps and goats.
Blšany Hillock in the Trip tips section