LIFE Project Cover Photo

Conservation of subpannonic dry grassland habitats and species

Reference: LIFE17 NAT/SK/000589 | Acronym: LIFE SUB-PANNONIC



Dry grassland habitats and their associated species are under threat in the northern edge of the Pannonian bioregion, and where it borders the Carpathian and Continental bioregions, in western and southern Slovakia and into the neighbouring Czech Republic. This is a result of overgrowth by shrubs and trees, and the spread of invasive alien species, mainly due to the abandonment of traditional and extensive farming practices, such as grazing, mowing and fruit cultivation. In addition, significant grassland areas have been destroyed by inappropriate afforestation, as they were once considered to be useless land. The restoration of dry grasslands requires the removal of invasive species and woody biomass, and the subsequent restoration of grazing and related infrastructure. Endemic plant species are threatened by habitat loss; while populations are often very small and isolated, making them genetically vulnerable. Improved management of these plants is needed, based on expert knowledge, to increase and reconnect the habitat patches.


The main objective of the LIFE SUB-PANNONIC project is to improve the conservation status of three Habitats Directive priority dry grassland habitats (sub-pannonic steppic grasslands, semi-natural dry calcareous grasslands, and pannonic loess steppic grasslands) and three plant species of Community importance (Onosma tornensis, Artemisia pancicii and Himantoglossum caprinum) in the northern part of the Pannonian bioregion in south-west Slovakia. The project will achieve this by removing encroaching shrubs and trees, controlling invasive plant species, and re-introducing mowing and grazing practices. This should also have a positive impact for other species of Community interest, including Thlaspi jankae, Dracocephalum austriacum, Iris aphylla ssp. hungarica, Pulsatilla patens, Bolbelasmus unicornis and Stenobothrus eurasius.

Expected results: Target habitats:

  • Restoration of appropriate management implemented on at least 450 ha of degraded grassland habitats (e.g. removal of shrubs, mowing);
  • Invasive alien species removed on 80 ha in project sites through both prevention and mitigation; and
  • Sustainable grazing reintroduced on a minimum of 375 ha of grassland habitats.
  • Target species:

  • Increased Slovak population of Onosma tornensis by at least 10 % and improved habitat conditions on 20 ha (covering all areas of occurrence within Slovak SCIs);
  • Increased population of Artemisia pancicii within the SCI Čejkovické špidláky by over 15 %, with an increase in flowering individuals of over 30 %, and improved habitat conditions over 2 ha where the species occurs and a further 1 ha where it has occurred in the past; and
  • Increased population size of Himantoglossum caprinum by at least 10 % in two Natura 2000 sites (covering over 80 % of the total Slovak population), and improved habitat conditions over a total of 3 ha where it occurs and could potentially spread.
  • Policy: The project will directly implement the EU Habitats Directive, the Biodiversity Strategy to 2020 (Targets 1 and 2), and the Regulation on Invasive Alien Species. Furthermore, by improving the conservation status of xerothermic habitats it will mitigate the negative effects of climate change by providing stepping stones for the migration of xerophilous insect species. The project will also contribute to policies relating to sustainable and low-carbon economies, through the processing of biomass from extensive farming.


    Reference: LIFE17 NAT/SK/000589
    Start Date: 01/09/2018
    End Date: 31/12/2024
    Total Budget: 3,112,940 €
    EU Contribution: 2,330,797 €
    Project Location:


    Coordinating Beneficiary: Bratislavsk regionlne ochranrske zdruenieRegional Association for Nature Conservation and Sustainable Development
    Legal Status: PNC
    Address: Na Rivire 7a, 84104, Bratislava, Slovakia Slovensko
    Contact Person: Katarina MIKULOVA
    Tel: +421948408042

    LIFE Project Map



    • Grasslands
    • Plants


    • grazing
    • restoration measure


    • Directive 92/43 - Conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora- Habitats Directive (21.05.1992)
    • COM(2011) 244 final “Our life insurance, our natural capital: an EU biodiversity strategy to 2020” (03.05.2011)
    • Regulation 1143/2014 - Prevention and management of the introduction and spread of invasive alien species (22.10.2014)


    • 6210 - Semi-natural dry grasslands and scrubland facies on calcareous substrates (Festuco-Brometalia) (* important orchid sites)
    • 6240 - Sub-Pannonic steppic grasslands
    • 6250 - Pannonic loess steppic grasslands


    • Himantoglossum caprinum
    • Artemisia pancicii
    • Onosma tornensis


    Type Code Name
    SPA SKCHVU003 Cerová vrchovina-Porimavie (DEPRECATED)
    SPA SKCHVU007 Dunajské luhy (DEPRECATED)
    SPA SKCHVU015 Medzibodrožie (DEPRECATED)
    SPA SKCHVU027 Slovenský kras (DEPRECATED)
    SPA CZ0621026 Hovoransko - Cejkovicko (DEPRECATED)
    SCI CZ0620005 Hochberk (DEPRECATED)
    SCI CZ0620014 Predni kopaniny (DEPRECATED)
    SCI CZ0620162 Jecmeniste (DEPRECATED)
    SCI CZ0623035 Bily kopec u Cejce (DEPRECATED)
    SCI CZ0624114 Predni kout (DEPRECATED)
    SCI CZ0624115 Kamenny vrch u Kurdejova (DEPRECATED)
    SCI CZ0624116 Cejkovicke Spidlaky (DEPRECATED)
    SCI SKUEV0029 Veľký kopec (DEPRECATED)
    SCI SKUEV0032 Ladmovské vápence (DEPRECATED)
    SCI SKUEV0175 Sedliská (DEPRECATED)
    SCI SKUEV0269 Ostrovné lúčky (DEPRECATED)
    SCI SKUEV0277 Nad vinicami (DEPRECATED)
    SCI SKUEV0295 Biskupické luhy (DEPRECATED)
    SCI SKUEV0343 Plešivské stráne (DEPRECATED)
    SCI SKUEV0345 Kečovské škrapy (DEPRECATED)
    SCI SKUEV0347 Domické škrapy (DEPRECATED)
    SCI SKUEV0353 Plešivská planina (DEPRECATED)
    SCI SKUEV0355 Fabiánka (DEPRECATED)
    SCI SKUEV0356 Horný vrch (DEPRECATED)
    SCI SKUEV0358 Soví hrad (DEPRECATED)
    SCI SKUEV0359 Dechtárske vinice (DEPRECATED)
    SCI SKUEV0380 Tematínske vrchy (DEPRECATED)
    SCI SKUEV0392 Brezovská stráň (DEPRECATED)
    SCI SKUEV0737 Palanta (DEPRECATED)
    SCI SKUEV0567 Turecký vrch (DEPRECATED)
    SCI SKUEV0669 Drieňové (DEPRECATED)


    Name Type
    Bratislavsk regionlne ochranrske zdruenieRegional Association for Nature Conservation and Sustainable Development Coordinator
    ZO ČSOP Onyx, Czech Republic Participant
    State Nature Conservancy of the Slovak Republic (Štátna ochrana prírody Slovenskej republiky), Slovakia Participant