Extensively managed hay meadows of the planar to submontane zones (Arrhenatherion, Brachypodio-Centaureion nemoralis)
Species-rich extensively managed hay meadows of the planar to submontane zones (Arrhenatherion, Brachypodio-Centaureion nemoralis). This includes dry meadows (e.g. Arrhenateretum elatioris, subass. with Salvia pratensis) and typical communities, as well as extensively managed, species-rich, humid to wet meadows (with e.g. Sanguisorba officinalis). They differ from intensively managed grassland in that they are rich in flowering herbs, they receive little fertilizer, and the first cut for hay is not taken prior to the main flowering period of the grasses.
Notes on habitat mapping
The main criterion for the delimitation of this habitat type is the character of the vegetation which must allow for a clear assignment to the Arrhenatherion alliance. Meadows are taken to be species-rich if they are typical of the relevant plant community and contain a high number of characteristic species. The presence of species alien to the syntaxonomic unit, e.g. ruderal species in fallow stands, should not be considered as adding to species-richness. If a stand contains the typical species suite of one of the syntaxa given above it should be recorded as an example of this habitat type, regardless of the current land use intensity. Hence apart from the true meadows, meadows with aftergrass or early fallow stages may be included. They can be differentiated from the mountain hay meadows (6520, Polygono-Trisetion) by the characteristic plant species of the relevant habitat type.
Proposal for amendment: The Calthion alliance should definitely be annexed. Nutrient-poor pasture communities (Cynosurion) are also worthy of protection. Therefore it is recommended to extend this category to 'Nutrient-poor lowland grassland (species-rich sites)'.
The intensification of grassland use has resulted in nutrient-poor extensively managed lowland meadows becoming very rare. The loss of species-richness can mainly be attributed to multiple cuts, increased fertilizer use, and an earlier first cut (e.g. for silage).