The Fichtelgebirge Nature Recerve e.V. as landscape conservation organization in the District of Wunsiedel i.F.

Landscape conservation for maintaining our rich cultural landscape has a long
tradition in the Fichtelgebirge Nature Reserve. This work in semi-natural habitats,
which now need to be maintained as a result of abandonment, has been managed
with the support of the farming community, landowners, municipalities and competent
authorities and nature conservation organisations.

Landscape conservation follows old agricultural traditions

It is the method of landscape conservation practiced throughout Germany to start
again where agriculture had to stop as a result of the structural change in recent
years and decades. This new approach – to again cultivate wet meadows, to re-wet
overgrown forest moors and to use hedges like coppices – does not only serve
endangered animals and plants with their habitation, but also the population since
they feel at home in a cultivated landscape with colourful meadows, clean brooks and
hedges and forest edges rich in berries.

Funding from the Bavarian Ministry of Environment and the EU

This task with its great number of single projects in our small-spatial low mountain
elevation can only be accomplished with high funding rates from programmes of the
Bavarian Ministry of Environment and the EU. Our own funding is financed by the
District of Wunsiedel i. Fichtelgebirge, the local authorities, nature conservation
organizations and private donors. Every year, the Naturpark Fichtelgebirge e.V.
commissions the mowing of fallow flat moors, forest meadows and tall forb
communities to conserve the open character of our traditionally intensively used
cultural landscape and to stop the grave loss of highly-specialized animal and plant
species: local butterfly experts knew the Moorland Clouded Yellow on bog bilberries
and arnica as the most frequent butterfly on moorland in the 1950ies – today this
butterfly is no longer seen. At that time, there were about 1500 hectares of peat ditch
with marshy litter meadows and wet wooded meadows in the Fichtelgebirge, only
about 10 percent still exist in dispersed areas at the most. The rest has been drained,
improved, reforested or developed into a wet birch-spruce-forest after being
abandoned and without further assistance. This also harmed the no longer seen
black grouse and the endangered common snipe, both of which need open, short wet
grassland as a food source.

Voluntary cooperation with landowners and the farming community

The work for biotope conservation also fills the time between haymaking and grain
harvest in agricultural farms. In the mid-eighties, only the occasional farmer in the
district entered the new work field “landscape conservation”. In contrast, there are
about 100 farmers mediated by the Machinery Wunsiedel e.V. who cooperate with
the conservation organization. The Naturpark Fichtelgebirge e.V. is offered an
increasing number of biotope areas and unprofitable agricultural areas for
conservation purposes, which are provided by interested citizens for constructing
ponds and woods. A certain sign that not only the authorities are concerned about
the preservation of our white storks, dragonflies, arnica, orchids and bats but that
many citizens are also interested in landscape conservation.

Dipl.-Ing. Gudrun Frohmader-Heubeck
Specialist for landscape conservation in the Naturpark Fichtelgebirge e.V.:
Landratsamt Wunsiedel i. Fichtelgebirge
Jean Paul Str. 9
95632 Wunsiedel
Room D.56
Tel.:+49 (0)9232/80-522
Telefax: +49 (0)9232/80-9522

• inspection of biotope areas in need of conservation
• contact person for citizens and landowners
• mediation of possible funding programmes
• handling of nature protection programmes of the district
• organisation of landscape conservation work
• participation in species and biotope preservation programmes
• participation in biotope networks
• participation in regional management
• public relations
• lectures and excursions