Threats and solutions are everywhere
Landscapes in Europe are under a permanent change. Climatic aspects as glaciers and warm periods have shaped and designed especially the Northern European landscapes. Afterwards humans have transformed these landscapes by settlements, agriculture and other activities. Sometimes these activities have an impact on nature as habitats and species (birds, mammals and plants). These changes, threats or problems are often the same everywhere. And at every site people are looking for solutions for their problems. But sometimes just the right idea is in another person’s head. This is why this project will connect several experts, site managers and other related persons and authorities for a better common approach to find appropriate answers on these topics and questions. By this we put all our ideas and experience together for the benefit of nature.
Therefore the LIFE Project BaltCoast has assembled around 20 partners from 5 countries (Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Estonia and Lithuania) around the Baltic Sea for this coastal habitat project. Sustainable answers
The main tool for a sustainable long term management of the project sites will be grazing. By a local “task force” of hardy cattle and horse as Galloway and Highland cattle and Konik horses the vegetation will be kept in an favourable / appropriate state. Especially the winter grazing or grazing periods including the time of early spring and late autumn have apparently quite positive impacts on site vegetation and structure. The optimal vegetation will offer good living conditions for birds and other animals.
As often as possible local farmers are encouraged to keep such hardy grazers for these sites and tasks. This also keeps the local economy afloat and opens up new branches for the local farmer business. Action! Action!
Main aim on the sites is a natural water condition. This shall be obtained by several actions especially by keeping water as long on site as natural. This can be reached by blocking ditches and drainages and dredging mud from lagoons. If other not appropriate plants are covering the vulnerable sites, then they will be reversed by mowing and grazing. Our aim is the most natural situation of the sites, therefore depressions and a natural relief will be recreated as former existing.
Planned actions are, among others, the restoration of natural hydrology of lagoons and salt meadows by blocking of drainages and reducing unnatural lagoon discharge. Water bodies will be improved by dredging accumulated mud and removing of dense reed. Often habitats are invaded by unnatural overgrowth of bushes and trees including alien invasive species (e.g. Rosa rugosa) which displace natural plants and animals; this tendency will be stopped and reversed by mowing and grazing. Finally a recreation of natural morphology of depressions and dells in dunes and meadows is foreseen. Nature without mankind?
Nature in its best conditions is also a pleasure for humans. Therefore the project sites will be open for the public wherever it is possible and in line with the nature conservation aims.
Information infrastructure on site will offer more and detailed information about the local situation and some publications on a scientific level, for the general public as well, are currently under preparation. Several public attracting attention activities will accompany these arrangements.