Mountain hay meadows

This habitat type also has a focus of distribution in the Rhön region within Hesse, and with a size of 426.1 ha it is of state-wide and of nationwide importance regarding spatial extent as well as the floristic inventory.

The fauna of butterflies and moths is similar to the fauna of the Nardus grasslands. Mountain meadows are among the most colourful plant communities of central Europe with a series of conspicuous flower aspects in rapid succession. Areas of springs and wetlands as well as rocks frequently create a small-scale mosaic together with different types of other grassland vegetation.

Most of the grasslands are currently mowed. However, in many partial areas there are mowing pastures, or purely grazed sites. Some sites lay fallow. A rather recent economic aspect has developed with the value of the mountain meadows for tourism. Currently the use of most areas has greatly intensified. Both grazing and disuse are threatening this habitat type in different manners.

Therefore, the LIFE project wants to test different care measures on sample areas. Another threat are the non-native lupines with are enriching the ground with nitrogen. Mowing, aimed cut out and short sudden grazing can avoid a spreading of this plant.

mountain hay meadow with Arnica montana - picture: Uwe Barth

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