German Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN)


Results from the Working Group on Bogs, Fens and Heaths

The national government and Länder Working Group FFH-Berichtspflichten Moore & Heiden (Reporting Obligations for Bogs, Fens and Heaths Listed in the Habitats Directive), led by Mr. von Drachenfels, drew up recommendations for monitoring and conservation status assessment of bogs and fens, and developed the assessment matrices for eleven habitat types (see below). The magazine (Natur und Landschaft 2005 (Issue 11) provides a brief outline of the recommendations using the example of habitat types 2310 Dry Sand Heaths with Calluna and Genista and 7230 Alkaline Fens.

The working group also agreed parameters and thresholds for the assessment criteria to be applied to and assessed for each habitat type.

Habitat Structures

With regard to habitat structures, only those parameters are named which do not automatically represent adverse effects (e.g. trees and shrubbery which in marginal numbers can even contribute to full representativity of characteristic structures and typical species inventory).

When it comes to bogs and fens, coverage with characteristic sparse trees and shrubs like mountain pine, gale and Japanese white pine must be assessed as rapidly spreading, water-depleting or eutrophic species. Heaths must be distinguished between cover with common juniper (see Habitat Type 5130) and that with other shrubbery. Groups and single examples of old trees do not diminish a site’s value and can in fact increase it (e.g. old oaks situated on heaths).

In delimiting and assessing bog, fen and heath habitats, biotope types could and should be included which on their own do not constitute a natural habitat type. These include the various development stages in heaths (from open sand to scrub areas), grass stocks in calcareous fens and gale bushes in heath bogs. The complete lack of certain structure types can in some circumstances (and perhaps as regards the fauna) reduce the importance (especially in the case of sandy heaths). The vegetation stocks representative of the habitat type must be dominant and in good conservation status.

Setting the thresholds for individual parameters should be conducted on a regional basis independent of naturally occurring conditions.

Characteristic Species Inventory

The assessment parameter Representativity of Characteristic Species Inventory involves selecting plant species that typically occur around the country. The list must be either supplemented or shortened with respect to species typical of the various Länder and the geographic region. The key reference species for the habitat type are underscored in the table; species which by definition must occur are marked with an asterisk.

For the number of species of typical flowering plants, thresholds are given which must be aligned to the changed listed of species. The inventory of species characteristic for the region is key in determining conservation classes. Because the largely vascular plants studied allow only limited conclusions to be drawn as to the representativity of the species inventory, recommendations are made on which species groups should receive priority attention in addition to vascular plants. With bogs and fens, attention should be given to properly classifying the resident mosses.

Adverse Effects

The Adverse Effects parameter lists frequently occurring adverse effects. These are scored in some cases according to their effects, i.e. by the widespread presence of neophytes or species indicating eutrophication or dehydration.

The Assessment Matrices

Assessment Matrices (downloads in German only)
Dry sand heaths with Calluna and Genista2310, PDF
Dry sand heaths with Calluna and Empetrum nigrum2320, PDF
Northern Atlantic wet heaths with Erica tetralix4010, PDF
European dry heaths4030, PDF
Active raised bogs7110, PDF
Degraded raised bogs still capable of natural regeneration7120, PDF
Transition mires and quaking bogs7140, PDF
Depressions on peat substrates of the Rhynchosporion7150, PDF
Calcareous fens with Cladium mariscus and species of the Caricion davallianae7210, PDF
Petrifying springs with tufa formation (Cratoneurion)7220, PDF
Alkaline fens7230, PDF

To achieve an assessment showing conservation status A, all the parameters must apply within each of the criteria. For conservation status B and C, the parameters can in many cases be seen as alternatives - especially in the case of the structural parameters.

Last Change: 02/03/2021