Blossomy grassland in the Düffel(Foto: D. Doer)

Swamped grassland in spring (Foto: D. Doer)

To achieve a better conservation of rare meadow birds at the Niederrhein, various measures have been planned as part of the LIFE-project. Fields and meadows purchased by the NABU are leased to local farmers under a number of conditions which result in meadow bird friendly cultivation. These conditions include a break in cultivation practices from mid-March to mid-June as well as forgoing the use of pesticides, manure and artificial fertilisers. This extensive land use will allow for the development of a plant community and vegetation structure appropriate to meadow birds.

An important factor of successful meadow bird conservation is water. To maintain the moisture of fields in the spring, temporary backing up of water through adjustable dams and even active irrigation using wind turbines have been planned. Furthermore, the surface terrain should exhibit more depressions, as is typical of flood plain habitats. To achieve this, intermittently filled ground depressions of different sizes are to be created, while the already available nature conservation waters are to be improved.

As well as the described measures which should develop the habitat of meadow birds in grasslands, further measures have been planned which should improve the habitats of meadow birds. To protect themselves from birds of prey and other predators, meadow birds require a wide view of an open landscape. Therefore hedges are to be removed in key areas to increase the openness of the landscape.