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The Heath is Home to more than 300 Plant Species. ©Helmut Strohmer

The Heath

The Perchtoldsdorf heath is one of the most well-known and popular areas for daytrips south of Vienna. It is estimated that the area receives more than 100.000 visitors every year. Only few people, however, know that the heath is an ecological reserve of international significance. It is home to more than 300 plant species and some very rare animal species. The favourable climate in tandem with the fact that it has probably been used as pasture land since the Neolithic Age and the fact that prairie grass has probably grown there ever since then, has resulted in very interesting wildlife. The ground-squirrel colony is certainly a special attraction for all ages. The panorama is a sight to behold: looking down into the Vienna basin one sees Perchtoldsdorf nestling at the foot of the hill and the precincts of Vienna on the horizon. In Perchtoldsdorf, “Heide” (heath) is a topographical name. A botanist would probably call the vegetation found on the hilly, partly rocky and stony ground “dry grassland”, or, even more adequately, “steppe land”, since plants and animals that can be found on the steppes of eastern Europe live on the Perchtoldsdorfer Heide.

An ecological reserve of international significance

In 1997, the Ministry of the Environment published a book on “steppe-land on the urban periphery” where renowned ecologists presented scientific information in easily digestible form, thus supplying nature lovers with a valuable source of information and a reference volume on one of the most precious eco-systems of Austria.

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