Publication details

Observation of a longtime unobserved positive establishment of European Habitat Type 6510-grasslands in N-W Germany



Year of publication 2022
Type Appeared in Conference without Proceedings
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Science

Description The conservation and restoration of semi-natural species-rich grasslands is one of the most challenging tasks in nature conservation. Even more remarkable in this context is the large increase of positively developing grasslands along a large stretch of the Wümme-river in North-Western Germany. In our study we now investigated those developing grasslands, their history and their perspectives for the future. We especially focussed on the apparent species community and attempted a first phytosociological and ecological classification. In 2020 we recorded 197 vegetation plots along the whole stretch of the grasslands. We compared the apparent species composition to similar vegetation associations described in the European literature. Data available from biotope mappings from 1999, 2004 and 2018 and other records from the literature were used to trace the grasslands’ development in the past. The grassland community developing in the floodplain of the Wümme-river has not yet been described for Europe. The community is of a mesic character, uniting species indicative for the Arrhenatheretalia elatioris order (Leucanthemum vulgare, Leontodon autumnalis, Galium album) and the Molinion caeruleae order (Filipendula ulmaria, Achillea ptarmica, Lotus pedunculatus), while it is lacking diagnostic species for a specific association. Curious is also the appearance of species indicative for floodplain meadows (Sanguisorba officinalis, Veronica longifolia) and species known from nutrient-poor sandy grasslands (Armeria maritima, Dianthus deltoides). These species are rare in the area and some are red-listed. The area of value for nature conservation increased by about 100 ha during the past 10 years. We concluded that a classification of the grassland community is best within the Arrhenatheretalia elatioris order. Due to missing of unambiguous diagnostic species we suggest a classification on the order-level. Especially in the context of the generally deficient development of lowland hay meadows in other regions of Germany, the here presented regeneration of large stretches of this protected European habitat type 6510 can be seen as a showcase project for successful applied nature conservation.
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