The project areas
The LIFE+-Project deals with the implementation of measures in three selected nature reserves in Lichtenau (district Paderborn). The project areas are part of the European protected areas network NATURA 2000 and are acknowledged as Habitats Directives areas (Council Directive 92/43/EEC on the Conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora). The nature reserves “Eselsbett” (approx. 120 hectare) and “Schwarzes Bruch” (approx. 30 hectare) form the FFH area “Eselsbett und Schwarzes Bruch”; the FFH area “Sauerbachtal Bülheim” (approx. 50 hectare) matches the nature protection area of the same name.
The Eggemoore are located on the west-facing slope of the wooded Eggegebirge with the transition to Lichtenau’s cultural landscape. High precipitation up to a maximum of 1200 mm a year supported the development of moor habitats.
The small moors of the Eggegebirge, which are remaining parts of a former widespread habitat are important areas of retreat for specialized species of animals and plants. The Eggemoore are located between low- and highlands as well as on the biogeographical border between the atlantic and continental region. Thus, its ecological significance is especially important for species which suffered decline in these areas. Well maintained source populations, e.g. in the Eggemoore, are the key-factor for recolonisation wetland habitats by endangered species.
Moors are complex ecosystems that consist of several habitats. According to the way of water supply, there are differences between raised bogs (water supply only by rainfall), fens (water supply by ground water) and a diverse number of mixtures.
The LIFE+ -Project deals mainly with two habitat types, which influence the project areas significantly:
The habitat type 7120 (degraded raised bogs still capable of natural regeneration) includes raised bogs whose water balance is disturbed, for example due to intensive peat cutting. Dependent on nature conservation measures these moor areas have a great potential for regeneration by a reinstate of peat growth over a period of 30 years. It is important for the new life in this ancient moors, that plant communities are still dominated by typical peat-forming species and no intensive cultivation of the moor has taken place.
Habitat type 7140 includes transition mires and quaking bogs on peat substrate fed by oligotrophic ground and surface water. Mostly there is a core in the moor that shows the typical vegetation of raised bogs and a surrounding landscape including a small stretch of water, mounds, hollows and a zone of warping with sedges (bottle sedge – Carex rostrata).
The target species
Specialized species of plants and animals have adapted to the strongly acidic and nutrient-poor environment of moors. Exactly these species are the target species for the LIFE+-Project. The conservation measures are meant to support especially these species, but also many other benefitting plants and animals with similar demands of habitat.
In the project areas there are not only the important bog mosses which produce the peat (Sphagnum spec.) but also typical plants of moors like common cottonsedge (Eriophorum angustifolium), round-leaved sundew (Drosera rotundifolia), bulbous rush (Trichophorum cespitosum), cranberry and bog bilberry (Vaccinium oxyococcus, V. uliginosum). The plants do not have a chance to survive in the cultural landscape, which is created and used by humans. Thus, they represent the remaining parts of a former wild and natural landscape that is free from external influence.
Birds like the great grey shrike, the European stonechat and the meadow pipit as the target species should benefit from the LIFE+-Project. They are breeding birds in the Eggemoore, however, they do not exist in the bordering cultural landscape. Stabilization of these stocks is necessary for a possible recolonisation of the surrounding. For species with a higher demand for land like the red kite or the black stork, the Eggemoore are an important habitat in the transition zone of large-scale forest and open fields.
Objectives and measures
Former usage can be read to this day in the vegetation of the Eggemoore. For example, some bogs were afforested with spruce and pine trees to achieve at least a small income on these otherwise unproductive areas. In some places, drainage ditches are still visible which are supposed to dry the surfaces so that it can be used more efficiently in agriculture. Consequences of drainage disturbed the natural water balance and caused a continuous dry of surfaces. The planting and independent immigration of woody plants have strengthened this unfavorable condition, because woody plants evaporate more water due to their large leaves than smaller moor plants.
Objectives of the Life+ Project are restoring a near-natural water balance and an improvement of living conditions for typical bog plants and animals. This will be achieved mainly by two conservation measures:
- Removal of woody plants which were grown up in the last decade (pine trees, spruce, willow) to limit the evaporation of water
- Closure of the drainage ditches and drainage hollows to stop water runoff from the fields
In addition to the direct effect on water balance and the bog habitats with the corresponding species, a positive climate effect is expected. An intact bog is able to save five tons carbon dioxide per hectare per year, while a disturbed bog emits much stored carbon dioxide into the atmosphere within a very short time.
Nature conservation in the European context
The FFH areas of the LIFE+-Project “Eggemoore” are part of the network NATURA 2000. Hereby bog habitats and thus the subsistence of endangered plants and animals can be improved.
What is NATURA 2000? What are FFH areas?
The term NATURA 2000 describes a European wide network of nature reserves, which are identified on the basis of Habitats Directive and the Birds Directive by the European Union. With this, important habitats and species in Europe should be protected over a longer period. Thus, NATURA 2000 is the foundation for a common nature and species protection on European level.
Selected wild plants and animals as well as their habitats are protected in FFH areas. Due to the Birds Directive, all wild living bird species in Europe as well as the most important breeding, wintering and staging areas are protected as bird sanctuaries.
What is LIFE+?
LIFE+ is an international development program of the European Union. From the program LIFE+ Nature projects for the improvement of habitats and living conditions of those species are funded that are listed in the Habitats Directive and the Birds Directive. LIFE+-Projects thus supporting the network of protected areas NATURA 2000 and dedicated the maintenance of the bioldiversity in Europe.