- Testing and review of the effects of different measures (combinations) of mowing and fertilization on species composition, vegetation structure, soil nutrients and crop usability as well as appreciation by target species establishment on two experimental plots of habitat types 6440 (Cnidion floodplain meadows) and 6510 (Lowland meadows).
- Evaluation of selected measures from the agri-environmental program „Freiwillige Naturschutzleistungen“ on grassland in Saxony-Anhalt
- Status Quo analysis of vegetation composition, feed value and soil chemical parameters of selected meadows of LRT 6510 in the Biosphere Reserve “Karstlandschaft Südharz”
- Updating the guideline as well as the grassland site groups and management recommendations for grassland habitat types 6440, 6510 and 6520 in Saxony-Anhalt
- Updating of the internet information platform for "grassland management" and for the database "grassland experiment plots"
In two experimental plots existing since 2010, the effects of different management factors, such as different fertilizer types, cutting dates and frequencies, treatment by rolling and seeding of target species on species composition, vegetation structure, condition, yield, feed value and soil chemical properties are analyzed and evaluated.
Investigations take place on a natural habitat type 6510 in the Wulfener Bruch near Köthen and on a Cnidion dubii meadow near Dessau. Both sites belong to the Biosphere Reserve “Mittelelbe”.
The Wulfener Bruch, a flat area with high groundwater levels, is situated between Köthen and Aken (Saxony-Anhalt). Parts of the area are included in the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve „Mittelelbe“. The landscape is characterized by agriculture, particularly meadows and pastures. Arrhenatheretum elatioris (natural habitat type 6510) covers most parts of the investigation area, which is located at the margin of the nature reserve „Wulfener Bruchwiesen“, the Site of Community Interest „Diebziger Busch und Wulfener Bruchwiesen“, and the Special Protected Area „Wulfener Bruch und Teichgebiet Osternienburg“. Large areas of the wet meadows were drained at the beginning of the 19th century. Over the centuries, the study site developed into a species-poor version of the Arrhenatheretum elatioris mainly through fertilization and, especially in the last few years, through insufficient mowing. Prior to the project, start funds were applied for the meadow including the study site. As a result, the first cutting was conducted after June 15th. A second voluntary cutting was not economical and, therefore, not realized.
The “Fischerhüttenwiesen” near Dessau are located east of Waldersee and in the north of the main road to Vockerode and are surrounded by the lake Löbben, a backwater. They are located in the Biosphere Reserve "Mittelelbe" and the Site of Community Interest "Dessau-Wörlitzer Elbauen". The experimental site is an area of alternately wet grassland (approx. 67 ha) with constant presence of characteristic species (eg Cnidium dubium, Galium boreale, Sanguisorba officinalis). In the northern part it corresponds to the habitat type 6440 and it is equipped with high species richness and has a high proportion of habitat types and characterizing species. Phytosociological the area is assigned to the Sanguisorbo officinalis-Silaetum Silai Klapp 1951. The area is regularly flooded at least once a year.
Experimental management variants
|Experimental site Wulfener Bruch||Experimental site Fischerhüttenwiesen bei Dessau|
To observe the effect of different management factors for a period of 6 years (2010-2015) soil chemistry, floristic species composition, vegetation structure, yield, and forage quality are analyzed.
Meadows in the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve “Karstlandschaft Südharz”
In 2010 first site groups for the natural habitat types 6440 (Cnidion floodplain meadows), 6510 (Lowland meadows) and 6520 (Mountain hay meadows) in Saxony-Anhalt are defined and described, and very first management recommendations were verbalized. The description of the characteristic of the site, which includes data of soil properties and vegetation composition was difficult to describe, especially for the habitat type 6510. This natural habitat type is distributed over the whole country of Saxony-Anhalt and there was only very old literature and existing data. A deficit of knowledge particular for the site group 1.3 (bases-rich, moderately fresh sites of the planar-colline height level with poor nutrient availability) shows the priority of the plant community of Dauco carotae-Arrhenatheretum elatioris formed in the subassociation salvietosum pratensis. Hundt (1958) provides only data for this association from the south of Saxony-Anhalt. However, this kind of meadows is found in the area of the Biosphere Reserve "Karstlandschaft Südharz". There is no data about species composition on habitat type mapping (BioLRT data) except on the Special Areas of Conservation „Bundsandstein- und Gipskarstlandschaft bei Questenberg im Südharz“ (FFH0101) and „Gipskarstlandschaft Pölsfeld und Breiter Fleck im Südharz“ (FFH0108). Data on soil properties (especially nutrient levels) and feed value of the crop is not existing. On the one hand, such information is extremely important for the discussion of management recommendations to ensure a favorable conservation status. On the other hand, there is the endeavor of the Biosphere Reserve to conserve sheep grazing and to revive the keeping of old cattle breeds. This allows the use of meadows to gain winter feed or feed supplement for year-round free-range during periods of higher layers of snow. By analyzing the feed value of the crop its suitability as winter feed is assessed.
For the proposed duration of the project a unique sampling of 15-20 meadows per year is provided. In every meadow 1-3 sample plots should be set up depending on the character of the meadow.
The sampling contains:
- mixed soil sample on a plot of 10 m x 10 m (early spring)
- notation of vegetation properties on 5 m x 5 m (in May/June)
- crop sample on 1 m x 1 m (in May/June)
The evaluation of agri-environmental programs for the natural habitat types 6210 (Calcareous grasslands), 6440 (Cnidion floodplain meadows), 6510 (Lowland hay meadows) and 6520 (Mountain hay meadows) was implemented in Saxony-Anhalt for „Freiwillige Naturschutzleistungen“ (RdErl. des MLU vom 24.1.2008 – 55.60129/4.4.2) and under the program „Vertragsnaturschutz“ (RdErl. des MRLU vom 11.4.2002 – 55.3-60129/4.4.2, amended by RdErl. des MLU vom 10.4.2003 – 55-3-60129/4.4.2). In particular, selected, well-documented measures are evaluated. Therefore, 145 plots in the south of Saxony-Anhalt were already recorded from 2010 to 2011. From 2012 to 2013 80 plots of grasslands in the north of Saxony-Anhalt will be investigated and assessed again.
The recording of the vegetation of the grassland plots is based on the evaluation of grasslands of the Kulturlandschaftsprogramm (KULAP) in Thuringia. Under this program, for every vascular plant of one plot (field block) a species-specific share of income is estimated. The assessment is also based on the Kulturlandschaftsprogramm (KULAP) of Thuringia (Hochberg et al. 2003). The list of valuable grassland species was modified for Saxony-Anhalt. To assess the state a target-performance comparison is made. The proportion of valuable grassland species, the habitat structure (content of herbs, stratification), and impairments are considered.
The results of the evaluation allow conclusions about the current state of grassland of the natural habitat types 6210, 6440, 6510 and 6520 in Saxony-Anhalt under agri-environmental measures. Statements about the effectiveness of the measures of the programs “Freiwillige Naturschutzleistungen“ and “Vertragsnaturschutz” can hardly be taken because a repetition of the recordings is pending.
The evaluation showed that grasslands often have suboptimal conditions. The biggest problem is the high proportion of grasses and the tendency to single-layered meadows. Usually, this is a result of an inadequate frequency of use. Especially in high-yield grasslands, the management within the program FNL or VNS may be too low. Very well developed grasslands cannot be maintained with this kind of management. Badly developed grasslands cannot be further developed (vgl. Bossard 2000, Hölzel 2003). The comparison of the evaluated measures with the [management recommendations] of the [site groups] of Saxony-Anhalt after DULLAU et al. (2010) showed that the measures are not suitable to maintain valuable grasslands. The use only one time is often predetermined, even though many site groups of the evaluated habitat types should be mowed twice or three times a year. “Freiwillige Naturschutzleistungen” are aimed to maintain and improve the state and the biodiversity (MUL 2008). Therefore, they should be based on the optimal management recommendations (see DULLAU et al., 2010). The previous results of the evaluation suggest that the management measures funded by the program “Freiwillige Naturschutzleistungen” have no positive effect on species composition and stratification of the grasslands of the natural habitat types 6440 and 6510.
Project leader: Prof. Dr. habil. Sabine Tischew
Researchers: Dipl.-Ing. (FH) Sandra Dullau, Dr. Henriette John, M. Sc. Jessica J. Arland-Kommraus
Funding: ELER Sachsen-Anhalt, Förderperiode 2007 – 2013, Landesverwaltungsamt Sachsen-Anhalt
Duration: 04/2010 - 09/2011 (FKZ: 407.1.9-60128/323010000010), 10/2011 - 09/2013 (FKZ: 407.1.9-60128/323011000033)
Cooperation partners: Landwirtschaftsgesellschaft Dessau-Mildensee mbH, Agrargesellschaft Wulfen mbH, Biosphärenreservat Mittelelbe, Biosphärenreservat Südharz