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Grassy tracts within Risnjak National Park are small. The largest surfaces among them cover rocky pastures on the top of the mountains Risnjak, Snježnik and Guslica, while the mountain belt grasslands are rare and usually surrounded by forest areas.

  • Narrow-leaf blue grass and carnation grass turf (As. Seslerio tenuifiliae- Caricetum firmae)
  • Mountain turf consisting of evergreen sedge and narrow-leaf blue grass (As. Carici sempervirenti-Seslerietum tenuifoliae)
  • Mountain turf consisting of Kitaibel’s sedge and alpine rockrose (As. Carici kitabelianae- Helianthementum alperis)

All of the three communities of the rocky pastures are situated on the most exposed areas of the mountain-tops, where due to the strong winds snow is often blown away during the winter. During that time plants are usually exposed to climatic extremes: low temperatures and physiological aridity because of the permanently frozen ground. That is why these communities are composed of low perennial plants (Seseria tenuifolia, Carex kitabeliana, Carex firma, Helianthemum alpestere, Aster apline, Edraianthus graminifioluus). Annual plants (terophytes) are not present here, because the vegetation season is too short for their complete development. On the other hand, some of these plants are viviparous (Polygonum viviparum), thus they can procreate vegetatively.

  • Sharp fescue turf (As. Festucentum bosniacae)
  • Turfs of junegrass and fescue (As. Koelerio- Festucentum amethystinae)

Both of these communities develop at sheltered positions within the dwarf pine zone and their origin is probably anthropogenic – they emerged due to grazing and mowing. These activities have ceased in last decade, thus degradation of these grasslands can be expected over time, and their transformation to mountain heathlands with Juniperus nana and dwarf pine communities.

  • Meadows of bromegrass and hoary plantain (As. Bromo- Plantaginetum), are very picturesque mowed meadows with variety of flowering plants. The most important species are: Bromus erectus, Plantago media, Anthyllis vulneraria, Trifolium montanum, Hippocrepis, Salvia pratensis, Buphtalmum salicifolium, Lilium bulbiferum. These meadows are mowed once a year.
  • Mat grass fields (As. Arnico-Nardetum), covers small areas of the Park and develops on acid washed out surfaces. The most beautiful stands are characterized by the flowering Arnica montana with its yellow flower- heads, as well as Nardus stricta, Danthonia decumbens, Potenttilla erecta, etc.
  • Fescue and sundew meadows (As. Festuco- Agrostietum), also occasionally on acidic deep soils.
  • Tall oat grass meadows (As. Arrhenatheretum elatioris) is rare in this area. Characteristic appearance because of the tall oat grass (Arrhenatheretum elatioris) usually accompanied by Knautia arvensis, Pastinaca sativa, Trfolium pratense etc. The finest hay meadow, formed through fertilizing Bromo- Plantaginetum and Alchemillo- Trisetetum. Since there are only a few inhabitants left in the Park, there is no longer a need for large amount of high quality hay, so these meadows are no longer fertilized. Is not possible to mow these meadows two or three times a year any more, which was formerly their main characteristic.
  • Lady’s mantle and yellow oatgrass meadows ( As. Alchemillo- Trisetetum), also one of higher-quality hay meadow suitable for mowing once a year. Dominant species are lady’s mantle and yellow oatgrass.

The grasslands are particularly threatened due to the decline in domesticated ruminants grazing in the National Park and the absence of mowing. One visible effect is the succession developing natural-potential vegetation for this area which is forest, and the consequent, relatively rapid loss of a wealth of herbaceous species and the associated fauna. These meadows are vital habitats for several animal groups, including butterflies, passerine birds and ungulates. The most important locations are Leska, Lazac, Šegine, the around Hrvatsko, Btov laz and the wet meadows along the Kupa River. Grasslands are also important component of landscape diversity and a factor in the long distance view which is an important segment for visitors of the National Park. Given the complexity of the management dictated by these areas, they are addressed in a specific action plan.

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