Germany’s grassland is in decline. Since 1991 the area permanently covered by grassland and meadows decreased by more than 10 %. As of now, grassland and meadows make up for 29,7 % of the agriculturally used land (Statistisches Jahrbuch 2012). With 14,4 %, Saxony-Anhalt holds the lowest percentage amongst all federal states and grasslands are almost solely found in nature reserves (Biosphere reserve, Natura 2000 sites). Besides the decline being problematic, most existing grasslands are used very intensely, which is not in the best interest of conservation. However, not using grasslands has negative effects on them, too, and causes sites to become unstructured and low in biodiversity. On productive sites, underuse will cause the accumulation of litter and weeds, and a loss of low competitive species. Overuse will favour grasses to the point of grass dominance with only very few herbs left.
To preserve or establish species-rich grasslands the right mowing dates and mowing intensities are vital. It is also especially important to reduce nitrogen fertilizers and balance mineral fertilizers to ensure basic supply of minerals. Site specific, target-driven, and comprehensible measurements for different kinds of grasslands must be put down into management plans (summarized into site-groups).
Usually, when grassland has lost its species-richness, species cannot reclaim the site without an adjacent diaspore source. Re-introduction of valuable species, however, can be achieved by near-natural restoration methods such as application of green or dry hay or seeding of native wild plants from regional seed propagation.
Nature-orientated and sustainable grassland management in Saxony-Anhalt to promote the Natura 2000 habitat types 6210(*), 6440 and 6510 as well as Dactylorhiza majalis as a species of national response