HNV Farming & Other aspects

Change of land-use and landscape structure in Baden-Württemberg

© Images (today): B. Beinlich

The past 100 years have seen most dramatic changes in land-use. Accompanying the switch from threshing with hand flails to the use of enormous combine harvesters, landscape structure and ecological processes have undergone a similar change. The following pictures try and highlight these differences by showing the same areas in Baden-Württemberg at the beginning of the 20th century and in the 1990ies.

Castle Brauneck
Castle Brauneck
Castle Brauneck
past
  • large area of regularly grazed calcareous grassland – mainly short sward, but different microhabitats present
  • many solitary trees, important perching and nesting sites for different bird species (pipits, shrikes etc.)
  • coppiced willows in the valley bottom
today
  • grassland habitats completely lost – plantation with coniferous trees dominates
  • coppiced willows overgrown by trees
  • low habitat diversity = low conservation value
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Kornbühl
Kornbühl
Kornbühl
past
  • hill practically without shrubs or trees – open grassland
  • meadows bordered by trees and shrubs in foreground
today
  • slopes of hill partly covered with coniferous trees
  • transformation of open grassland into juniper heath – still high conservation value but totally different habitat structure and accompanying species
  • meadows in foreground converted to arable fields
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Lautertal
Lautertal
Lautertal
past
  • large (transhumant) sheep flocks – important dispersal vector for seeds and certain animals (snails, grasshoppers)
  • calcareous grasslands (Natura-code *6210) and juniper heath (5130) with short sward – optimum conditions for thermophilic species
  • habitat continuum exists from slope to valley floor
today
  • habitat management by conservation authorities
  • afforestation of dry grasslands
  • Natura habitat types (*6210, 5130) threatened by shrub encroachment
  • lack of open ground and short sward in dry grassland – lower structural diversity
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Lautertal
Lautertal
Lautertal
past
  • dry grassland habitat continuum along the lower valley slope
  • grassland with substantial proportion of the different habitat types of the Lautertal
  • orchards, gardens with stone walls near the village
today
  • afforestation of most grasslands
  • isolation and change of habitat structure (shrubs) of remaining grassland
  • lack of connectivity with similar sites increases extinction threat for poorly dispersing species
  • loss of orchards and gardens (transformation into woodland)
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European Forum on Nature Conservation and Pastoralism
Online: http://www.hnv-farming.eu/biodiversity/land-us-change-bw/
Date: 2017/11/19
© 2017 EFNCP – All rights reserved.