German Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN)


Enlarging and Linking Agricultural Montane Grassland Habitats (Eastern Erzgebirge Region, Germany)

Funding priority

Safeguarding biotopes: Conserving, restoring and interconnecting valuable habitats


Oelsen, Sächsische Schweiz-Osterzgebirge administrative district, eastern Erzgebirge region, Saxony


04/2001 - 09/2001 (preliminary study)
05/2003 - 12/2006 (main project)
05/2003 - 02/2008 (accompanying research I)
05/2013 - 12/2017 (accompanying research II)

Brief description

From a conservation standpoint, mountain and wet meadows in upland regions are highly valuable habitats that are home to numerous rare plants and animals. The habitat types requiring protection in meadow situations of this kind are increasingly at risk, in some cases from grazing intensification and in others from abandonment of past extensive management and the resulting spread of trees and shrubs. This project aimed to test various types of measures on a model basis: measures aiming to regenerate grassland habitats, to promote their use and management in keeping with conservation objectives, and to link them into a regional habitat network. It also aimed to expand and link botanically important vegetation complexes of species-rich montane grassland communities comprising mountain meadows, mat-grass swards, wet meadows and fens.

Building on the findings of a preliminary study and in close cooperation with land users, a differentiated approach was taken to combining and testing various management and regeneration methods (mowing, grazing, mulching, etc.) to sustain and restore the former extent of mountain and wet meadows. Additional work such as rewetting and landscaping was planned to turn some structurally degraded, dewatered and heavily modified meadows back into wet meadows.

The Phase II accompanying research can now go on to evaluate the long-term development of vegetation in the project area. More than 15 years after the project began, the work will derive more detailed findings on the effectiveness of regeneration measures applied in earlier project phases and develop transferable strategies for restoring species-rich montane/submontane grassland. This work will be linked to further population ecology studies on new approaches with regard to special rescue measures for severely endangered target species.

Among other things, the research looks into the feasibility of using species-specific, in-situ management in combination with ex-situ/in-vitro propagation methods to retain or reintroduce selected species in the project area (for example Gentianella lutescens and Orchis mascula).

An additional economic evaluation of the applied regeneration measures, in conjunction with the scientific findings, will provide the basis for recommendations to be compiled at the end of the project on regeneration strategies for grassland habitats of conservation value.

Entity responsible for the project

Landesverein Sächsischer Heimatschutz e. V. (preliminary study, main project and accompanying research I + II)
Wilsdruffer Straße 11 - 13
01067 Dresden, Germany

Phone: 0351 / 4956153


Liaison at BfN

Annette Hagius, FG I 2.1

Project funding agencies

BfN, State of Saxony and Landesverein Sächsischer Heimatschutz

Grant amount

2.65 Mio. €

Further information

Hachmöller, B.; Hölzel, M. & Menzer, H. (2011): Bergwiesenmanagement im oberen Osterzgebirge - Beispiele für erfolgreiche Managementstrategien von (sub-)montanen Grünländern im Freistaat Sachsen. Naturschutz und Biologische Vielfalt 115

Hachmöller, B., Hölzel, M., Schmidt, P., Walczak, C., Zieverink, M. & Zöphel, B. (2010): Regeneration und Verbund (sub-)montaner Grünlandbiotope im Osterzgebirge. Naturschutz und Biologische Vielfalt 99: 244 S. + CD-ROM. (order here)

Hachmöller, B. (2000): Vegetation, Schutz und Regeneration von Bergwiesen im Osterzgebirge – eine Fallstudie zur Entwicklung und Dynamik montaner Grünlandgesellschaften. – Diss. Bot. 338.

Last Change: 20/10/2016