C. Concrete conservation actions

C1 Establishment of NATURA 2000 grasslands

The measure C.1 implements the measures of the grassland concept Natura 2000, re-creating and creating habitat types such as mountain hay meadows, lowland hay meadows, calcareous oligotrophic grasslands, species-rich Nardus grasslands and, to a minor degree, alkaline fens in the Rhön.

C2 Improvement and new establishment of calcareous oligotrophic grasslands in the municipality of Nüsttal

The calcareous oligotrophic grasslands in the municipality of Nüsttal currently show a high need for optimisation. Additionally, about 20 ha of calcareous oligotrophic grasslands can be developed from succession areas. Therefore, the LIFE team and the municipality in the Rhön will work out a measure plan for nature conservation in the form of a grazing concept.
This concept will display the use of goats for landscape maintenance and appropriate supplementary maintenance works.

C3 Optimizing of habitats for bird species of the Birds Directive in rough grazing areas of the SPA “Hessische Rhön”

The measure aims at re-establishing a (semi-) open landscape cultivated with appropriate intensity by largescale extensive grazing. To realise this, the LIFE team will organize partial measures like removal of trees, building of birds and game safe fences or rewetting near springs and ditches.
Through these actions they want to increase the number of breeding pairs of all relevant birds on grassland in the Rhön.

C4 Optimisation of habitats for meadow-breeding bird species according to the Birds Directive in the SPA “Hessische Rhön”

The LIFE team wants to improve the current habitat situation for meadow-breeding bird species particularly Whinchat (Saxicola rubetra), Meadow Pipit (Anthus pratensis), Common Snipe (Gallinago gallinago) and Corncrake (Crex crex) in the Rhön.
Therefore, they will perform actions like the removal of trees and shrubs, the establishment of extensively used grassland strips as breeding habitats and observation perches as well as the introduction and continuous consultation of a grassland management.

C5 Optimisation of the habitats for Northern Shrike and Red-backed Shrike (shrike species) in the SPA “Hessische Rhön”

To create a better habitat situation for the birds Northern Shrike and Red-backed Shrike partial matters will be conducted. Those measures include a restoration of an open, oversee able visual landscape including maintaining some dispersed trees and shrubs. Further, anthropogenic disturbance needs to be reduced to increase the habitat quality for those birds on the grasslands in the Rhön.

C6 Development of feeding habitats for the Black Stork

This action wants to maintain or rewet moist and wet grasslands to develop suitable feeding habitats for the Black Stork. In addition, the use of the grasslands will be extensified by abandoning fertilizers and biocides. The LIFE team will also create ponds with shallow water zones to improve food supply. Further, they will create shallow water zones on suitable sites in stream valleys.

C7 Enlargement and optimisation of habitats to create a stable metapopulation of the Marsh Fritillary (Euphydryas aurinia)

Based on the preparatory investigations and plans in measure A.6, the potential habitats of Marsh fritillary (Euphydryas aurinia) have to be extended.
To achieve this goal the measure includes comprehensive first management measures, restoration measures and demonstration sites in order to optimise permanent maintenance.
Further, the team will create “stepping stones” in the surroundings of current or former habitats with the particular aim to facilitate immigration from the population in the Natura 2000 site “Schwarzes Moor”, Bavaria.

C8 Demonstration of the effectiveness of different management regimes (systems for the cultivation and maintenance) of mountain hay meadows

The measure in the LIFE project investigates and compares the effects of different management regimes for the habitat type “mountain hay meadows". This is done through two investigative approaches.

In part A, the vegetation of different management types will be compared. The areas selected for comparison have been continuously cultivated for many years with a management type. The areas selected for investigation must have at least a ten-year tradition of use to achieve a sufficient strength in terms of vegetation composition.

In Part B, the impact on vegetation development will be determined for seven different management types on a previously defined farmed area.
This measure will bring clarification of the suitability of different management regimes for the preservation of mountain hay meadows in the Rhön and will increase the flexibility for farmers by offering several management types.

C9 Control of neophytes and other problematic plant species on Natura 2000 sites

The most important problematic plant species in the habitat types of the Rhön grasslands is the Lupine (Lupinus polyphyllus). The measure C.9 aims at its sustainable reduction, especially in mountain meadows and Nardus grasslands in order to re-establish a favourable conservation status.
Other problematic plants addressed in this measure are Tufted Hairgrass and Wood Small-Reed as well as Autumn Crocus and Common Ragwort. The last both of them are toxic to animals. To diminish the risk during grazing farmers can mow those plants.

C10 Management of predators in areas of meadow-breeding birds and rough grazing

To increase the breeding success of the meadow-breeding birds in the Rhön a systematic and area-wide management of predators will be carried out during the LIFE project.

This management aims at marten-like species (especially stone marten), fox, wild boar and racoon. Together with measures to optimise the habitats, this will lead to a strengthening of the population. A round table with representatives of hunting, nature conservation, and agriculture and field trips will accompany the management of predators.


Goats on a pasture in Nüsttal - picture: LIFE team

Possible feeding habitat for the Black Stork - picture: LIFE team

Reduction of Lupine on the Wasserkuppe - picture: LIFE team

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