German Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN)


Reed and Sand: Using Extensive Management Methods to Restore and Link Habitats

Funding priority

Fostering regional development compatible with nature conservation: Agriculture, forestry and water resource management in line with nature conservation objectives


Darmstadt-Dieburg administrative district


06/2004 - 04/2010 (main project)
06/2004 - 03/2011 (accompanying research)

Brief description

This testing and development (T&D) project aims to sustain valuable reed and sandy grassland habitats in the selected region by developing new grazing approaches. Targeted use is made for this purpose of sheep from a local landscape conservation farm, Landschaftspflegehof Stürz. The project achieves integration at two different levels. Firstly, different habitats are restored and appropriately linked together by exploiting the mobility of the sheep. Secondly, conservation-centred and economic strategies are combined in an innovative and sustainable way. Combining nutrient-poor sandy grassland with high-yield reed cover also makes it possible to optimise the grazing regime in terms of animal nutrition: while rich in grasses and herbs, the sandy grassland does not provide sufficient nutrition on its own, particularly for juvenile animals. The reed and sandy grassland areas are supplemented in the project by features serving as stepping stones between them and by night pastures so that the sheep herd can reach all land under management 'on foot'. The project is to cover a total of 900 ha. Towards the end of the testing and development phase, it is expected to be economically viable in its own right.

The project is accompanied from both a conservation ecology and an agroeconomics standpoint by research under Prof. Angelika Schwabe-Kratochwill at the Technical University of Darmstadt. That the project meets with broad-based approval from local communities is shown among other things by considerable areas of land made available for it.

Entity responsible for the project

Landkreis Darmstadt-Dieburg (main project)
Amt für Natur- und Umweltschutz
64276 Darmstadt, Germany

Universität Darmstadt (accompanying research)
FB Biologie
Schnittspahnstr. 4
64287 Darmstadt, Germany

Liaison at BfN

Dr. Peter Finck FG I 2.1

Project funding agencies

BfN, Darmstadt-Dieburg administrative district, the Darmstadt division of the regional administration, the towns of Darmstadt, Griesheim, Pfungstadt and Weiterstadt, the communities of Alsbach-Hähnlein, Bickenbach and Seeheim, HGON, NABU, and Wasserverband Modaugebiet

Grant amount


Further information

Website (provided by Darmstadt-Dieburg administrative district)

Last Change: 01/01/2015