DIGITALNA ARHIVA ŠUMARSKOG LISTA
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afforestation started in order to stop process of moving sand.
In 1764, a military border (Banat Military Frontier) was established in this area, with the aim of defending the Habsburg Monarchy against the Turks. The first military maps of the area were made in 1787. and the Deliblato sands was shown as an area of bare sand, without any vegetation. (Figure 5).
However, according to Wessely (1873) and Ajtay (1902), this map was inaccurate, as the area also comprised larger forest complexes, as indicated by arrow fragments and forest game remains found around its perimeter (Ajtay, 1912). This view is supported by the presence of calcified forms which resemble roots in shape (calcium carbonate was deposited in the cavities created by the rotting of oak roots). Because of deforestation and irrational use of pastures, a strong desolation occurred on the Deliblato Sands territory in the 18th century. In 1777 and 1778, when the Turks invaded southern Banat, parts of the Deliblato Sands forests were burned and cut down, the settlements were destroyed, and the local population fled. As a result, additional sandy areas were opened and were spread by Košava to the surrounding agricultural areas (Bura, 1969; Milenković et al., 2018). A strong hurricane that raged through southern Banat, Deliblato Sands and the surrounding area in 1816 further exacerbated sand spreading. According to some reports, the sand from Deliblato Sands was carried by the wind to Vienna and Pest.
A few years prior (1810), the Court Military Council ordered a survey of the Deliblato Sands with the view of its afforestation. In this period, a second secret military survey was carried out, which resulted in a more detailed map of the area (Figure 6).
Afforestation process of the area began in 1818 and was executed in several stages that differed in the methodology adopted, the selection of species for sand stabilization, and the management strategy (Figure 7, Table 2).
• The first afforestation period (1818−1843) – Bachofen period:
Forestry expert Franz Bachofen was entrusted with the task of calming the “flying sand” and creating a plan for binding sand based on the experiences in northern Germany, France and Hungary (Stjepanović-Veseličić, 1953). Bachofen established that 16,800 ha of the total 40,660 ha area Deliblato Sands was covered by unbound sand (Bura, 1969). Bachofen was appointed as the Director of the Military Border Forests with headquarters in Bela Crkva, and from 1818, based on his proposal, the afforestation process began (Bura, 1969; Sekulić and Šljivovački, 1980). Bachofen carried out the afforestation process successfully until 1843. During this time, all grazing and logging was prohibited, while around 5,000 ha was afforested with Pinus sylvestris L., Betula verrucosa Ehrh., Populus alba L., Populus nigra L. and psammophilous grasses—Ammophila arenaria (L.) Link, Leymus arenarius (L.) Hochst., and Carex arenaria L. (Stjepanović-Veseličić, 1953; Table 2.). However, many of these species were not an adequate choice. For example, Ammophila arenaria (L.) Link is a characteristic species of the coastal sands of Europe. Thus, when planted on continental sands, especially calcareous sands, it tends to quickly disappear (Ellenberg, 2009). Afforestation with poplars was carried out while covering the sand with straw, corn and reeds.
• The second afforestation period (1843−1872) – Introduction of black locust (Robinia pseudoacacia L.) into the culture:
In this period, the Court Military Council entrusts the afforestation process to Kristen, the manager of the newly established Business Administration for Forest Activities with headquarters in Deliblato. During this period, forest operations were intermittent and often unsuccessful. The most significant commitment was the acquisition of black locust (Robinia pseudoacacia L.) seeds in 1853, which led to the