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Forests and Flora

Geological base, relief features, soil and climatic conditions together with other factors participated in creation of various locations in the Veľká Fatra mountain range. In these locations, remarkable communities and species of plants (more than 1,000 species of higher plants) and animals with transregional importance have evolved.

Natural character has been preserved especially in forest communities (approximately 90% of the territory of the Veľká Fatra mountain range is covered by forests). Many of them are a valuable document of the forest community evolution of the Carpathian type where numerous rare and endangered species occur. In these communities, natural forest tree species are preserved especially in more extreme positions, which remained mostly unaffected by forestry with the natural way of reproduction by means of decomposition of primeval forest formations.
The largest area is covered by beech forests, which, in some places, stretch as far as to the upper timber line significantly lowered in the past due to intense grazing. In forest stands, sycamore maple, Norway maple, common ash, European rowan, small-leaved lime and large-leaved lime are mixed. At the upper timber line there are natural pine groves; in extreme conditions European larch is drifted out. On lime stones and dolomites, there has been relic vegetation of borovica lesná (Pinus sylvestris) preserved. It occurs on rock terraces, rocks and rock yawns where bushy whitebeam or beeches grow. In the area of Tlstá smaller covers of oak woods have been preserved. At the highest positions or inverse ravines there is mountain pine. In the spring and waterlogged areas there are alder-birch woods. For the Veľká Fatra mountain range high concentration of tis (Taxus baccata) is characteristic which has been included in the sign of the new national park in stylized form as a typical tree species and document of flora evolution – relic of an early post-ice age period.

Plant communities of rock biotopes with rare taxons are also of a relic nature. The orientation of the mountain range and calcareous base in major part of the area contribute to the fact that typical features of flora and fauna in the Veľká Fatra mountain range include more thermophilous species in addition to the typical Carpathian mountain species and compared to other high mountain ranges in Slovakia. Grass and herbal communities with natural or close-to-nature compositions, which have evolved and have been preserved up to present especially in the area of the Veľká Fatra ridge are valued as well. They are characterized by a great variety of species, which also include some alpine and sub-alpine species. For upland communities of the main ridge frequent occurrence of veternica narcisokvetá (Anemone narcissiflora), žltohlav najvyšší (Trollius altissimus), fialka žltá (Viola lutea), chlpánik oranžový (Pilosella aurantiaca) etc. is typical.

The most interesting and, for experts, eye-taking biotopes include rock faces, overhangs, screes on lime stones and dolomites, extreme positions of the highest peaks, avalanche gullies on the main ridge, inverse ravines, warm hillsides, etc. where many plants relatively known also by wide public occur – horec species (Gentiana sp.), prvosienka species (Primula sp.), plesnivec alpínsky (Leontopodium alpinum), fialka alpínska (Viola alpina), horčičník species (Erysimum sp.) etc..

In the Veľká Fatra mountain range or in its submountain area, it is possible to find a large group of endemic species which occur only on the certain limited territory such as klinček lesklý (Dianthus nitidus), klinček včasný (Dianthus hungaricus), ostrica vždyzelená tatranská (Carex sempervirens subsp. tatrorum), cyklámen fatranský (Cyclamen fatrense) bound to calcareous beech woods, kostrava tatranská (Festuca tatrae), mak tatranský (Papaver tatricum), poniklec slovenský (Pulsatilla slavica), poniklec prostredný (Pulsatilla subslavica), soldanelka karpatská (Soldanella carpatica) or recently described new species of jarabina pekárovská (Sorbus pekarovae) and lipnica slieňomilná (Poa margilicola). Unique species include also relics with isolated occurrence in the Western Carpathians or new taxons such as pochybok huňatý (Androsace villosa), arábka nová (Arabis nova), huľavník rakúsky (Sisymbrium austriacum) and mrlík listnatý (Chenopodium foliosum). The centre of expansion and occurrence limited mostly to the area of the Veľká Fatra mountain range is typical for the species of guľôčka srdcovitolistá (Globularia cordifolia), starček tôňomilný (Senecio umbrosus) or volovec vŕbolistý (Buphtalmum salicifolium); on the contrary, the Veľká Fatra mountain range is a border area for occurrence of e.g. škumpa vlasatá (Cotinus coggygria). Botanic gems of Slovakia and even European unique localities include especially the area of Gader where the first Slovak female botanist, Ms Izabela Textorisová from Blatnica, worked.

Wetland communities are becoming increasingly rare with respect to specific requirements for hydrological regime and high vulnerability to changes of outdoor conditions. These communities include skirts of flood-plain tree species and hydrophilous herbs near watercourses and water but the most precious and most endangered are fragments of bogs with typical peat communities where many bryophyte, communities of big and small sedges have their home followed by higher successive levels with bush and tree vegetation. The most interesting peat bogs include carnivorous plants such as rosička okrúhlolistá (Drosera rotundifolia), endangered rosička anglická (Drosera anglica) or tučnica species (Pinguicula sp.); the most precious include the communities of sedge species such as ostrevka slatinná (Sesleria caerulea) with last localities in the entire Western Carpathians or šašina hrdzavá (Schoenus ferrugineus).

Údolná časť Turčianskej kotliny je prevažne intenzívne poľnohospodársky využívaná a urbanizovaná, čo sa odrazilo aj na zložení jej rastlinného pokryvu. Tvoria ho väčšinou poľnohospodárske kultúry pestované na ornej pôde a intenzifikované trvalé trávne porasty lúk a pasienkov. Medzi nimi sa zachovali fragmenty prírode blízkych bylinných spoločenstiev a porastov drevín rastúcich mimo lesa, prípadne menších lesíkov. Dotvárajú charakteristický malebný obraz krajiny, ale najmä plnia nezastupiteľnú funkciu genofondovo významných lokalít (napr. fragmentov teplomilovnej alebo mokraďovej vegetácie) a interakčných prvkov systému ekologickej stability, ktoré umožňujú prežívanie a rozmnožovanie mnohých nielen rastlinných, ale aj živočíšnych druhov a sú potenciálnym zdrojom ich šírenia do okolitého prostredia.

Vydareným príkladom ľudskej snahy o navrátenej vzrastlej zelene do prostredia, z ktorého ju najprv odstránil, aby získal poľnohospodársku pôdu, sú Mošovské aleje. K dendrologickým skvostom Turčianskej kotliny patria napríklad aj chránené stromy Lipy v Doline v k.ú. Necpaly.

Veľmi významnou zložkou bioty Veľkej Fatry sú huby. Makromycéty sú tu zastúpené vreckatými aj bazídiovýtrusnými druhmi. Z chránených druhov treba spomenúť hlavne náramkovku cisársku (Catathelasma imperiale), ktorá v pohorí rastie na niekoľkých lokalitách, tiež hríb horký (Boletus radicans) a hríb purpurový (B. rhodoxanthus). Zo vzácnych druhov stojí za zmienku najsevernejšie rozšírenie hríba satanského (B. satanas) na Slovensku práve vo Veľkej Fatre.