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Management and development measures

Various measures are required in the project area so as to upgrade the habitat types as specified in the FFH Directive, as well as other valuable biotope types. A distinction must be made in this regard between large-scale measures and smaller local measures requiring less effort.

Large-scale measures

  • Removal of spreading undergrowth and cultivated blueberries (vaccinium corymbosum) in moorland areas. Prior to the implementation of the hydraulic engineering measures it will be necessary to remove undergrowth. This will serve directly to improve the areas, with the aim of developing “natural woodland-free raised and transition bogs”. It is, however, also planned to remove young growing copses from areas which, in part, still have valuable open raised-bogs habitats or populations of endangered species but in the long run would undergo re-afforestation because adequate re-wetting cannot be achieved. In these, in some cases, already heavily shrub-covered areas it will be necessary to carry out initial restoration by removing birch and pine trees. This, appropriately, will be done prior to re-wetting, because the areas concerned will then be easier to access.

Kiefern und Birkenaufwuchs auf Glockenheidefläche  
Young pine and birch trees in a heath area in which erica (Erica tetralix) is growing. Core areas in which undergrowth is spreading excessively will have to be cleared mechanically until re-wetting becomes effective (Helstorfer Moor). (Picture S. Brosch)
Busch der Kulturheidelbeere  
Cultivated blueberry (Vaccinium corymbosum) bush on the edge of a small wood – stemming from seed contained in bird droppings. Excessive growth should be removed, combined with the re-wetting of the bog. (Picture taken by S. Brosch)

Several blueberry plantations are located in the vicinity of the project area. The cultivated blueberries (Vaccinium corymbosum) frequently found in the project area stem from seed contained in bird droppings. Cultivated blueberries are fast-growing, are not indigenous to this area, and supplant the vegetation typical of raised bogs. They should be removed permanently, if possible, so that they are no longer able to spread.

  • Natural self-development of bog woodlands and naturally open high and transition bogs: large sections of the project area can be left to develop naturally after the implementation of the measures. The undergrowth present in those areas will die off gradually, without any intervention. The state of these areas will change increasingly in line with the development objective as the water level there rises. Self-development is nevertheless identified as a separate measure within the project, as it must be underpinned by administrative activities of a legal nature which require a certain amount of time. It will still be necessary to carry out conservation measures in certain parts of the project area, however.

: in heute schon feuchten  
25-year-old pine trees on Helstorfer Moor; in already moist areas, undergrowth can develop only in stunted form. (Picture taken by S. Brosch)
Einzelne alte Bäume  
Isolated old trees liven up the landscape aesthetically (Bissendorfer Moor). They are, on the other hand, seed producers and therefore undesirable. (Picture taken by S. Brosch)

Local measures requiring little effort

  • Clearance of undergrowth as well as of some of the weeds from the bodies of water (approx. 10) housing larvae of the large white-faced darter (Leucorrhinia pectoralis)
  • Development of bog woodland by clearing approx. 0.1 hectares of spruces
  • Development of woodlands comprising shade-intolerant trees by clearing some 2 hectares of undergrowth not indigenous to the area
  • Collection and disposal of material that has become deposited locally in bog woodlands
  • Local control of invasive Himalayan Balsam (Impatiens glandulifera) plant species.

Conversion of arable land into extensively used grassland

On the fringes of the bogs within the project area there is intensively used arable land covering an area of around 11 hectares. The land is privately owned and to be purchased by the state of Lower Saxony. The plan is to convert it into mesophile grassland as soon as possible and to have it used extensively by local farmers. This will generally be done by seeding grassland and leasing it to local farmers, who will have to comply with specific conditions regarding use.

Development of extensive structurally rich grassland on the fringes

Privately-owned grassland, mainly on mineral-soil sites, is located on the fringes of the bogs in the project area. It is to be purchased, just like the arable land, by the state of Lower Saxony. This land is also to be extensified and, in the long run, developed into species-rich grassland communities including, in particular, lowland hay meadows (FFH habitat type 6510).

This will apply to some 65 hectares of grassland that at present is mostly poor in species and intensively cultivated. Sustained extensive use by local farmers is subsequently envisaged. This will generally be done on the basis of lease contracts containing specific conditions regarding use. Also, there are plans to optimise the cultivation and management of some 83 hectares of mesophile grassland as well as humid and wet grassland already owned by the public sector. A review will be conducted in this regard and, if necessary, adjustments made to meet the requirements of the management and development plan.

Grassland area on the fringes of Helstorfer Moor intended for extensification. (Picture taken by S. Brosch)


Susanne Brosch

Nds. Landesbetrieb für Wasserwirtschaft, Küsten- und Naturschutz
Betriebsstelle Hannover-Hildesheim
- Projektleitung Life+ Moorgeest
Göttinger Chaussee 76 A
D-30453 Hannover
Tel: +49 (0)511 / 3034-3115

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