The following text is based on:
"Material and field guide on land-use history, management, restoration and
recreation of calcereous grasslands on the Swabian Alb" by Peter Poschlod
and Stefanie Kahmen.
The text is a summary
for part II of the Workshop on low input managed grasslands on poor/dry, sandy,
calcereous soil during a Climb Project (Changing Land-Use and its impact on Biodiversity)
The "KaMaRa" (KalkMagerRasen) -project
As a consequence
of the serious changes in land use practices since the last 150 years most of
the low intensity grassland ecosystems are declined in central Europe. Three different
trends forced this development:
1 . lf
economically possible land use was intensified to get higher yields with the result
oftransformation of semi-natural grasslands to nutrient-rich, eutrophic grasslands.
areas were abandoned because agricultural land use was unprofitable so that succession
took place until reestablishment of "natural" forests. However, many areas were
also afforested with conifers (spruce, pine - Pinus sylvestris).
use orientated on international markets, especially of the European Union, and
not on local demands and traditions. The production of domestic livestock-products
either concentrated on regions with higher productivity or got independent from
local grassland management due to the import of fodder.
dramatic decline of these grasslands with high nature Conservation value in the
last decades requires a considerable effort to protect the remaining sites. Since
the costs for the management of this nutrient poor grasslands are enormous and
without any agricultural use, the need is obvious to develop management systems
on a regional scale with respect to local farming structures.
in 1991 the project "KaMaRa" was started to study management methods for a successful
maintenance and protection of extensively used grasslands and to develop guidelines
for the practice of nature conservation. The project was supported by the Baden
Württemberg Ministry of Environment. The municipality Münsingen on the
Swabian Alb was chosen as a model region for this project.
the Swabian Alb semi-natural calcareous and other nutrient poor grasslands with
their specific floristic and faunistic spectra are still occurring to a large
extent (between 15.000 to 25.000 ha) compared to other regions in central Europe.
In the region of Münsingen there are approximately 507 hectare of remaining
calcareous grasslands which are still connected by grazing trails (Beinlich 1997).
This region has the long Tradition of sheep grazing and transhumant herding and
still active shepherds. For this reasons, it was chosen as the model region of
the KaMaRa project.
aim of the project was to combine biological, land use history and economic data
for a comprehensive assessment of the situation and to derive management advises.
Five different management strategies were outlined at the beginning:
of agricultural practices for grasslands
Promotion of herding of sheep
Preservation of the regional species pool
Management for preserving the remaining grasslands at the status quo
2. From theory
The two first targets
were mainly pursued since this region still obtain a lot of calcareous grasslands
and active sheep farms.
could be shown that the practice of transhumant herding is not feasible in future
as extent grazing trails and grazing sites apart from the Swabian Alb are missing.
Therefore, stationary shepherding was determined as a useful management strategy
for this model region. This means grazing during summer and feeding the sheep
during winter in stables.
the neighbourhood of the place there were defined three sectors of calcareous
grasslands for grazing by sheep. Each sector was characterised by a different
stage of succession and needs a specific effort for cutting of shrubs and trees.
The calcareous grasslands should predominantly be grazed by shepherding, but some
sites with grazing in enclosures were determined. Possible trails for connecting
the sectors by shepherding are demonstrated. In the surrounding of the three grazing
sectors, five sectors of calcareous and other nutrient poor grasslands were chosen
for the use as meadows. The hay is needed to feed sheep in winter.
land-use concept includes 286 ha grasslands which is 14% of the area of the model
region. 157 ha of this area are calcareous grasslands.
economic calculations show, that including all costs and profits of the described
system of sheep-farming there will be still an economic deficit for the farrner.
The deficit corresponds to 20% to 30% of the annual costs of the sheep barns required
for running the proposed system. lt was suggested that the deficit is paid by
The realisation of this
land-use concept for Münsingen started in 1996.
combination with the realisation of the farming program efforts are made to include
the public in the aimed regional agricultural system. Main emphasis is laid on
the development of a market for regional products. Shops were built up which are
specialised in products of the region and several farms started to sell their
agricultural products by their own. Several guides describe these shops and farms
for tourists. Furthermore, restaurants in the model region offer traditional or
special meals with regional products, especially lamb meat for their dishes. However,
despite these efforts to maintain the calcareous grasslands in the model region
by grazing through shepherding financial support by the govemment is still needed.
B. & H. Plachter (Eds., 1995): Ein Naturschutzkonzept für die Kalkmagerrasen
der Mittleren Schwäbischen Alb (Baden-Württemberg): Schutz, Nutzung
und Entwicklung. Beih. Veröff. Naturschutz Landschaftspflege Bad.-Württ.
Beinlich, B. (1997): Ein
Naturschutzleitbild für die zukünftige Entwicklung der Kalkmagerrasen
(Mesobromion) und der mageren Wirtschaftswiesen der Schwäbischen Alb.
Schr.-R. d. Deutschen Rates für Landschaftsplege 67: 112-11.9