Hessische Rhön – Mountain grassland, rough grazing and their birds

The management of Natura 2000 grasslands aiming at habitat types, bird species and the Marsh Fritillary will be re-organised, both with short- and long-term effects.

Nature conservation and agriculture will together develop and realise workable solutions, also considering the individual operational situation of the full-time and part-time farms.

The project area consists of the Special Protection Area „Hessische Rhön“ (SPA 5425-401) and the embedded Natura 2000 sites (SAC5325-305, 5325-308, 5525-351, 5323-303) as part of the Rhön Biosphere Reserve designated by UNESCO. The low mountain range has mainly been shaped by volcanism during the early Tertiary, and features divers mosaics of habitats in a historically developed cultural landscape. The share of grassland is above average, and the height difference in the SPA is more than 650 m.

Quantifiable aims of the project will be:

Restoration and new establishment of habitat typs on 160 ha like: Mountain hay meadows (6520), species-rich Nardus grasslands (*6230), seminatural dry grasslands (6212) and low hay meadows (6510).

On 65 ha new establishment of habitats for the Marsh fritillary (Euphydryas aurinia).
On 200 ha optimisation of habitats for meadow-breeding birds such as Meadow Pipit (Anthus pratensis), Common snipe (Gallinago gallinago), Whinchat (Saxicola rubetra) and corncrake (Crex crex)
Enlargment by about 20% of extensively used sites in habitats of the bird species Red-backed Shrike (Lanius collurio) and Northern Shrike (Lanius excubitor) as well as the Tree Pipit (Anthus trivialis) to a minimum of 80 ha.
On 500 ha optimisation of rough grazing for meadow-breeders and shrike species.
Establishment of 20 feeding ponds for the Black Stork (Ciconia nigra).
In summery, 1005 ha habitats for species will be restored, new established or optimised.

picture: Arnolf Müller

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