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Restoration of Flood Meadows along the northern Upper Rhine

Floodplain meadows of the alliance Cnidion belong to the most endangered plant species alliances in Middle Europe. Their species reach the western boundary of their areal along the northern Upper Rhine. In this area, procedures for the restoration of river corridor meadows have been developed since 1997. These make it possible to reinstall floristically and faunistically diverse meadows on former arable fields or species-poor grasslands.


In a restoration project funded by the German Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN)

"Restoration of Flood Meadows along the Northern Upper Rhine." (2000-2005),

restoration measures for the effective spreading and sustainable protection of endangered river corridor species and alliances were developed and their effectiveness was assessed.


In a follow-up project funded by Deutsche Bundesstiftung Umwelt (DBU),

"Working Concept for the floristical and faunistical Enrichment of species-poor Floodplain Meadows" (2006-2009),

the aims were

  • to optimize the transfer of plant material for the enrichment of species-poor alluvial grassland,
  • to improve the value of grasslands for the fauna,
  • to integrate low-intensity farming and grassland management into existing farming practices and
  • to develop a guideline on the topic "Restoration of floodplain grassland using plant material transfer" ("Verwendung von Mahdgut zur Renaturierung von Auengrünland", published in 2014, Ulmer Verlag).

Currently, an interdisciplinary project funded by Deutsche Bundesstiftung Umwelt (DBU),

"Development of a spatially explicit forecasting tool for the ecological assessment of flooding events in floodplain habitats" (2014-2017),

aims to develop a forecasting tool which should improve further planning of restoration measures in river corridor meadows.

 

In a cooperation project with the Botanical Society for Nature Conservation in Hesse (BVNH), Prof. Dr. Wissemann (Systematic botany group & scientific director of the Botanical Garden Gießen) and the Regional Council Darmstadt,

"Large Pink (Dianthus superbus L.) and Peucedanum officinale L. - ex-situ conservation and in-situ re-establishment." (2009-2016),

the seeds of Dianthus superbus and Peucedanum officinale, two endangered species, are taken from existing populations, planted and grown in the facilities of the University of Giessen and replanted to strengthen existing populations and establish new populations.

 

Further information on restoration measures of river corridor meadows along the northern Upper Rhine can be found at the pages of the City of Riedstadt.