The main features of the core area of the Senne/Teutoburgerwald large-scale conservation project are the remnants of broad-leaved mixed forests on acidic soil, damp and dry heath sites, sandy dry grasslands, near-natural sand-bottom lowland streams and areas of bog. This habitat network supports an outstanding flora and fauna. For many species protected under the European Union Birds Directive and Annex II of the Habitats Directive, such as the kingfisher (Alcedo atthis), grey-headed woodpecker (Picus canus), woodlark (Lullula arborea), European brook lamprey (Lampetra planeri) and bullhead (Cottus gobio), this is the main area of distribution in North-Rhine/Westphalia (NRW) and, in some cases, one of the few remaining areas of occurrence in NRW. In many sites, the Teutoburg Forest is closely integrated with the Senne landscape region. The eastern Teutoburg Forest, in which the core area is located, is one of the largest and most important forested areas within the Weserbergland physiographic unit for the conservation of mixed beech forests, which are found here in almost every form. Furthermore there are stands of acidophilous beech forest on limestone sites covered thickly in sand. The conservation status of the beech forests in the project area is good; they are very near-natural. The Teutoburg Forest is a habitat for numerous endangered plant species including the lady orchid (Orchis purpurea) and the small-leaved helleborine (Epipactis microphylla). For numerous species, e.g. the red helleborine (Cephalanthera rubra), it is the northern and/or western limit of their range.
The objective of this project is to conserve, protect and develop the characteristic habitat types of the Senne region and the Teutoburg Forest. These include instances of valuable near-natural and semi-natural habitats such as the species-rich limestone-beech forests of the Teutoburg Forest, the headwaters of the sand-bottom lowland streams, the remnants of broad-leaved mixed forests on acidic soil, and the historic heathland landscape of the Senne region. The objectives pursued range from allowing the natural evolution of broad areas of the forest while managing the remaining forests in line with natural principles, to using alternative forms of management to allow intensively used grassland and arable land to revert to heath landscape habitat types. Initially a management and development plan will be drawn up for this purpose, which shall take account of and combine both ecological and socio-economic aspects. The management and development plan shall make provision for natural evolution of broad areas of forest together with management of the remaining forest in line with conservation principles, and also some grazing projects. Apart from sheep and cattle, a particularly appropriate domesticated breed for grazing use is the Senner horse which is characteristic to the Senne region.