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#3/2022 NATURE RESERVE ‘FEUCHTWIESE KRÖNER‘ IN LENGERICH
Optimization of species-rich Nardus grasslands through shrub removal

Still open, rush-rich wet meadow with water ragwort

Still open, rush-rich wet meadow with water ragwort © Hartmut Storch, Biological Station of the district of Steinfurt

The approximately 2.1-hectare nature reserve ‘Feuchtwiese Kröner’ in the south of the town Lengerich (district of Steinfurt) represents a complex of small pools and grassland. Several state-wide endangered plant communities are found here, such as species-rich Nardus grasslands, wet meadows with water ragwort (Senecio aquaticus), and rush-moorgrass meadows, with their typical representatives, such as matgrass (Nardus stricta), heath rush (Juncus squarrosus) and heath grass (Danthonia decumbens). In addition to these endangered plant species, the nature reserve and its immediate surroundings also provide important habitats for various meadow birds, such as the jack snipe (Lymnocryptes minimus), and amphibians, such as the tree frog (Hyla arborea). Thus, in addition to its vegetation significance, ‘Feuchtwiese Kröner’ also has a function as a stepping stone biotope in the biotope network.

Despite extensive sheep grazing, scrub encroachment in the area had increased in recent years due to birch growth. The woody plants increasingly shaded the open areas and contributed to the accumulation of organic material and eutrophication of the otherwise nutrient-poor site conditions through leaf fall.

Therefore, as part of the Integrated LIFE Project Atlantic Region DE, a basic restoration was carried out by largely removing the woody growth for the optimization of the state-wide significant Nardus grassland area. In cooperation with the Biological Station of the district of Steinfurt and the Lower Nature Conservation Authority in the district of Steinfurt, the woody plants, especially birch trees, were removed from an area of about 0.5 hectares in November 2020 in order to optimize the species-rich Nardus grasslands (habitat type 6230).

In order to keep the area open in the long term and to permanently preserve the habitat type 6230, extensive grazing with sheep is to be continued, and in the future shrub removal in the area is to be repeated about every five years.

Heavily overgrown areas in the centre of the nature reserve ‘Feuchtwiese Kröner’.

Heavily overgrown areas in the centre of the nature reserve ‘Feuchtwiese Kröner’. © Hartmut Storch, Biological Station of the district of Steinfurt

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