German Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN)


"Höltigbaum semi-open pasture landscape" testing and development project

Project goals:

The Höltigbaum site is a former military training ground located on the perimeter of the city territory of Hamburg towards Schleswig-Holstein, covering some 546 hectares.

The goal of the "Höltigbaum semi-open pasture landscape" testing and development project is to establish low-intensity year-round grazing on an area of some 220 hectares, and thus to preserve the character of a traditional cultural landscape and, over the long term, to develop a semi-open pasture landscape. One aim of this is to ensure that the conservation assets present in the area are preserved and enhanced.

A further aim is to trial low-cost ways of safeguarding and developing areas in accordance with nature conservation concerns. In particular, it shall be examined whether this form of pasture management can give farmers sufficient financial incentive to integrate it into normal farming operations.

grazing area (Source: U. Riecken)

In-process scientific studies including both conservation and farm management aspects shall ensure a high degree of transferability of findings to other comparable areas.

This is thus a novel project whose outcomes may have wide-ranging importance for other regions of Germany. Moreover, thanks to the in-process economic analyses, it has the potential to provide an important stimulus for future low-intensity farming practices. Indications on ways to shape approaches using conservation management agreements are a further anticipated outcome - these can be important in the future development of the SecondPillar of the European Common Agriculture Policy (CAP).

Project status:

cattle in the fields (Source: U. Riecken)

The main project is being executed by the Stiftung Naturschutz Schleswig-Holstein (only in German)nature conservation trust. The overall costs of the main project amount to a little over € 0.95 million; of this the federal government will meet just under € 0.65 million over a 5-year project term (15.8.1999 - 30.6.2004). Further funding is provided by the Stiftung Naturschutz Schleswig-Holstein trust, the Förderfonds Nord fund trust (financed by the German regional states of Schleswig-Holstein and Hamburg) and the environment department of the city of Hamburg.

Support goes to, among other things, project coordination, fencing work, well installation, an animal tending facility as well as public awareness-raising activities.

sheep in the graze (Source: U. Riecken)

The fencing of the aera and the installation of the wells have now been concluded. The project was launched officially on 3.4.2000, when the grazing animals were turned out to pasture (cattle (Rotbunte x Galloway) and sheep (Heidschnucken)).The animal tending facility has also been completed in the meantime. Here the federal government financed the management building. The co-funder Förderfonds Nord, which also financed the fencing work, provided funds for the stable building.

In-process scientific studies:

Besides the investment measures, the federal government provides 100% of the funding for the in-process scientific investigations, which are being carried out by Lüneburg University. € 0.8 million have been granted for this.

The scientific investigations study the following aspects:

  • Conservation analyses and model development for transfer to other areas
  • Documentation of the edaphic-structural parameters / geomorphology
  • Vegetation development
  • Population development of selected animal group: birds, amphibia, grasshoppers, moths, dragonflies, ground beetles, epigeal spiders and burrowing wasps
  • Behaviour of grazing animals (space and habitat use)
  • Business management aspects

Moreover, the international expertise and the experience gained with similar projects in other countries has been tapped and made available for this and further projects by means of an international conference. The publication of the conference proceedings) has also made national concepts better known to a broader international circle of experts and has provided a basis for debate on these approaches.

Last Change: 15/12/2006