Nutrient-poor meadows provide some of the most biodiverse habitats for plants and animals. Protecting the Reifenberg meadows means conserving a natural treasure. Unfortunately such environmentally valuable areas have become very rare.
Unique biotope in the Hochtaunus still being conserved
Naturefund wants to purchase and conserve 20,000 m² of the Reifenberg meadows. This is a nutrient-poor grassland with a large variety of butterflies. A total of 36 butterflies were detected here, including the rare purple-edged copper. Arnica montana also grows here, one of the last places it still grows in the wild. Nutrient-poor meadows are some of Central Europe's most biodiverse habitats. Intensive agriculture with pesticides and fertilizer has destroyed these environmentally significant biotopes in many places. Due to their high altitude and slopes, the Reifenberg meadows proved unprofitable for this type of agriculture and therefore as they were. Today they represent one of Hesse's most important nutrient-poor grasslands. Naturefund wants to conserve this nutrient-poor grassland on a permanent basis.
Basic data of project
The Reifenberg meadows are located near Schmitten-Oberreifenberg in the South-West of Hesse in the vicinity of the Hochtaunus.
Naturefund wants to purchase and protect 20,000 m². The Reifenberg meadows comprise a total area of 56,435 m².
36 types of butterfly, including the purple-edged copper as well as three Zygaenid moths with the Green Forester, five-spot burnet, six-spot burnet, common field grasshopper, wild bees, bumble bees, deer, hare.
Arnica montana, common bistort, rattle, Phyteuma halleri, meadowsweet, wood cranesbill, various centaurea, field scabious, red clover, yarrow, winged broom, thyme, common milkwort, great burnet, common sorrel, purple loosestrife, buttercup, various thistles, lily of the valley, viola and numerous other rare grasses.
The HGON will become proprietor and custodian of the area.
The Reifenberg meadows are currently in private ownership. There are a total of 27 sub-plots with a total size of just over 5½ hectares. These lands are no longer being used by their owners, many of which having been inherited. The meadows are only mown once a year and mostly left to their own devices otherwise. The meadows are rarely cleared of scrub. The upper part of the meadows every so often see cows grazing, the lower area see sheep grazing almost every year. Observations found that the areas were often mown at the wrong time of year which meant plants the plants providing food or a place for the butterflies to lay their eggs were often destroyed. This means an entire butterfly population was at risk and could in the worst-case scenario even be completely destroyed, because from one day to the next no food sources or plants where eggs could be laid were available. Eggs that had already been laid and already hatched young caterpillars usually do not survive.
Nutrient-poor meadows provide some of the most biodiverse habitats for plants and animals in Central Europe. Unfortunately such environmentally valuable areas have become very rare. The FFH area of the Reifenberg meadows happens to be such a jewel of nature. The nutrient-poor grasslands offer ideal conditions for numerous species that have become rare here. This is down to the nutrient-poor soil. The Reifenberg meadows were obviously and fortunately never fertilised. The poor conditions meant a number of rare plant species managed to live/survive here. This provided a food source for countless insect species, such as butterflies, honey and wild bees, grasshoppers and many more. This on the other hand provided birds, hedgehogs and more with food. Naturefund wants to protect this incredibly valuable biotope in cooperation with the upper and lower nature conservation authorities and the local environmental protection organisations. The Reifenberg meadows are aome of the most important nutrient-poor grassland areas in Hesse.
The support concept
In future the Reifenberg meadows will be mown in coordination with the environmental protection authority in the late summer so that the great diversity of species (particularly the butterflies) will remain. In agreement with the local land owners, there is also to be occasional grazing by sheep or cows in order to prevent scrub encroachment. Together with the environmental protection agencies, in summer we are also planning to show more people by way of guided tours how seemingly unspectacular yet unique the natural treasures of the Reifenberg meadows really are. Protect land for nature now! More on nutrient-poor grasslandsMore on arnica montanaMore on the purple-edged copper