Small enclaves of life
Shelter belts. Shrubs, trees and herbs that sit in the middle of long, open fields. They shelter animals for free. Before the forcible merging of land in the 1950s, there were hundreds of them in the Czech Republic. They fundamentally increase the diversity of the Czech landscape and prevent it from being transformed into a desert.
You will encounter many shelter belts, especialy in fields, while walking through the landscape. These are forgotten pieces of land that were waterlogged and barren. People did not know how or did not want to use them, so they were left on the abandoned land. They served the landowners as living boundary stones, but can do much more.
They are mainly shrubs in a short lane, but it always depends on the conditions of the field. They are often not very wide, so as not to interfere with neighbouring land. You may also find trees, typically cherries, in the shelter belts. Most often, however, they smell of rose hips, hawthorn, blackthorn and other commonly represented shrubs, such as elder, dogwood, privet, viburnum or ivy.
Why plant shelter belts
They return life to the Czech fields, pressured by mechanisation and chemistry. They repair the damage caused by collectivisation.
Inaccessible vegetation protects animals from predators and rainy weather. The trees may provide a quiet hiding place for partridges, quails, hares, and other game in wide fields.
They can also diminish strong gusts of wind, thus preventing erosion.
Rainwater infiltrates them, which would otherwise travel further down the slope and carry the soil away.