Alien black pines give way to original nature at Bratislava’s Devínska Kobyla

Planting trees is not always a good idea, say nature conservationists.

The slope of Devínska Kobyla with removed black pines. The slope of Devínska Kobyla with removed black pines. (Source: Jana Liptáková)

On the first Sunday in March, flames on the protected Devínska Kobyla Hill frightened inhabitants and visitors of Devínska Nová Ves on the outskirts of Bratislava. It was neither an accidental fire nor an illegal burning of grasslands, but a controlled incineration of remains of whipped alien black pines. Nature conservationists removed them as part of a long-term systematic care for this valuable natural area.

“This is how we free up space for rare plant species typical of Devínska Kobyla,” Pavol Littera, from the non-profit organisation Regional Association for Nature Conservation and Sustainable Development (BROZ), told The Slovak Spectator. He admitted that communication failed on their part, informing the fire brigade and police about the incineration, but forgetting to pass on the information to the local municipal office.

Negative effects of good intentions

The black pines were planted under the previous communist regime, paradoxically with good intentions.

“At that time, there existed the opinion that forests is what was valuable in nature,” said Littera. “Such rocky areas were perceived as empty and of no value. Therefore, it was a great effort to afforest such slopes.”

This also happened in this area, although according to Littera it had to have expended a huge amount of energy, given the steepness of the slope and the shallowness of the soil.

The rest of this article is premium content at
Subscribe now for full access

I already have subscription - Sign in

Subscription provides you with:
  • Immediate access to all locked articles (premium content) on
  • Special weekly news summary + an audio recording with a weekly news summary to listen to at your convenience (received on a weekly basis directly to your e-mail)
  • PDF version of the latest issue of our newspaper, The Slovak Spectator, emailed directly to you
  • Access to all premium content on and

Top stories

Children flying kites in Žilina.

Short stories about 'unicorns' win a prize

Philip Morris has opened an interactive laboratory in Banská Bystrica, and private radio stations will say goodbye to Slovak music.

15. okt
Actor Noël Czuczor portrays Alfréd Wetzler in "The Auschwitz Report".

The Allies knew about Auschwitz atrocities, but they bombed the Bratislava refinery instead

A report about the atrocities written by two Slovaks who escaped the camp was ignored for weeks and months.

13. okt
Cyclists and scooter riders wave their way on Obchodná Street.

How to cycle in the centre of Bratislava

Obchodná Street is one problematic stretch for cyclists in the capital.

14. okt
The Christmas market on Main Square.

In spite of pandemic, Bratislava is preparing for Christmas markets

But there won't be an ice rink in Hviezdoslavovo Square this year.

15. okt
Skryť Close ad