Dunajovické kopce National Nature Monument

The Dunajovické kopce (Dunajovice Hills) NNM covers an area of 107.16ha and lies on the western slopes of the Dunajovice ridge at elevations up to 280 metres above sea level. The monument stretches between the municipalities of Dolní Dunajovice and Dobré Pole in the Jihomoravský kraj (South Moravian Region). The protected area was declared in 1990 to protect thermophilous steppe communities of grasslands, shrubs and herbs with the occurrence of many specially protected and endangered plant and animal species.
 
This distinctive elongated ridge is built of Tertiary marine sediments, especially calcareous claystones, siltstones and sandstones, which are covered by loess in places. The Velká Slunečná (Great Sunny) Hill is dominated by abandoned agricultural terraces with steppe waste lands. The surrounding landscape with extensive vineyards is intensively cultivated.
 
The vegetation consists of remnants of thermophilous steppe grasslands with the dominant dwarf sedge (Carex humilis) and the fescue Festuca valesiaca. Rich shrub communities with the occurrence of thermophilous species such as the dwarf Russian plum (Amygdalus nana) and numerous blackthorns (Prunus spinosa) grow on the slopes. The rarest plant species which grow at the locality include baby’s breath (Gypsophila paniculata), as well as the richest population of eastern sea-kale (Crambe tataria) in central Europe. Fringe communities with bloody cranesbill (Geranium sanguineum) have been preserved in places. Other notable herbs which grow on the Dunajovice Hills include the Pannonian epidemic species– Pancic’s mugwort (Artemisia pancicii), the flax Linum hirsutum, the feather-grass Stipa pulcherrima, dwarf iris (Iris pumila), burning bush (Dictamnus albus), great pasque flower (Pulsatilla grandis), the Austrian milk-vetch (Astragalus austriacus) and the milk-vetch Astragalus onobrychis. Representatives of the orchids are the military orchid (Orchis militaris) and lady orchid (Orchis purpurea). The representation of parasitic broomrapes is of note, with species such as Orobanche picridis, Orobanche alsatica, Phelipanche purpurea and others all growing here.
 
The occurrence of many rare animals (especially insects) is also bound to the Pannonian steppe vegetation. The praying mantis (Mantis religiosa) lives here as do numerous butterfly species such as the clearwing moths Chamaesphecia crassicornis and Chamaesphecia colpiformis, mallow skipper (Carcharodus alceae), blue-spot hairstreak (Satyrium spini), white-letter hairstreak (Satyrium w-album), clouded yellow (Colias crocea), as well as a strong population of the adonis blue (Polyommatus bellargus) which is disappearing from many other localities. Notable spiders which have been recorded here include the wolf spider Alopecosa solitaria, the crab spider Ozyptia pullata and the foliage spider Chiracanthium punctorium. Notable bird species which nest in the shrub growths on the hills include the red-backed shrike (Lanius collurio) and nightingale (Luscinia megarhynchos), with hoopoes (Upupa epops) and wrynecks (Jynx torquilla) nesting in hollow trees.
 
Interventions at the locality are targeted towards removing invasive species such as the false acacia (Robinia pseudoacacia). Steppe areas are maintained by sheep grazing.