Alkaline Fens in Brandenburg
Preservation and Restoration of Alkaline Fens in Brandenburg
Beginning in 2010, the state of Brandenburg launched the EU-LIFE project “Alkaline Fens in Brandenburg,“ which involves the Michael Succow Foundation as one of five project partners. The project is sponsored by the Nature Conservation Fund Brandenburg.
While alkaline fens were still widespread across much of Northeast Germany 100 years ago, we are now facing the task of preserving the last small remnants of this habitat type and preventing them from disappearing altogether.
In the next five years the project will attempt to stabilise a number of well-preserved alkaline fens and to improve their water balance. In co-operation with the landowners we will establish management concepts for suitable lan parcels to offer new habitat for endangered plant species and to facilitate the re-establishment of currently extinct alkaline fen-specific species in Brandenburg. The project also contributes to the reactivation of fen areas as natural carbon sinks. In the years ahead, a total of 14 alkaline fens in Brandenburg are scheduled to benefit from restoration measures.
One of the most outstanding project sites is situated within the Nature Conservation Area (NSG) “Großer Gollinsee & Bollwinwiesen.” The Michael Succow Foundation currently owns more than 100 hectares along the Bollwin valley. This area contains one of the best-preserved alkaline fens in Northeast Germany. In many areas, beavers have already contributed to the rewetting of the fen. Nevertheless, a number of intact drainage ditch systems remain in place. Built in the past to claim meadows and pastures, they continue to have a negative impact on the fen. The removal of these drainage systems is part of the project.
Three project phases are planned to achieve these goals. During the first step, landowners and land users will be informed about project goals and intended measures and asked for their permission. As an alternative, landowners will have the option to sell their areas for the purpose of conservation to the locally responsible project partner – at the Bollwinfließ, this is the Michael Succow Foundation. The first step also includes field studies to gather detailed knowledge about the current state of the area.
During the second step, land use-related measures will be implemented on those areas that could be secured for the project. This includes mowing of the fen to remove surplus nutrients, removal of woody plants, and the establishment of pastures, including livestock acquisition. At the Bollwinfließ, however, such measures will only be implemented on a very small scale, if at all.
The third and final step includes the implementation of measures aimed toward the stabilisation of water levels and the re-establishment of various plant species.
Since the initial conception of the project, the Michael Succow Foundation has been able to acquire the first private holdings at the Bollwinfließ, thus securing them for project purposes. This type of work will remain a priority in 2011. In this regard, it comes as a stroke of luck that our foundation was offered to take over another 90 hectares of the German National Natural Heritage in the Bollwin valley and its immediate surroundings.
Stefan Schwill, email: stefan.schwill(at)succow-stiftung.de