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Dieren en planten

Water en land

Mens en Milieu

Nature management   Regulations   Grazing   
horses grazing in dunes, foto fitis, sytske dijksen

Regulations for nature conservation

Farmers used to let their livestock graze in the dunes. In some dune fields, they could leave the animals for the entire year. However in other areas, the fields needed to be mowed or even burned in order to make them suitable for the cattle farmers. The dune fields were hardly, if at all, artificially fertilized. Consequently, and because of the grazing, mowing and burning, rare plants such as the early marsh orchid and bog pimpernel could flourish. In order to conserve the landscapes which would otherwise disappear if there was no human intervention, nature managers do just the same nowadays in certain areas as the farmers from earlier times.

  • Fighting natural succession
    Succession, Ecomare

    If we allow nature to take its normal course, most areas will eventually turn into forest. Grassland first grows wild with bushes and tall plants. After a period of time, trees start to grow. More and more trees take root and a forest is created. Nature lovers in the Netherlands donít want forest everywhere. Grasslands, open marshy areas and heath fields are also popular nature areas. And thatís why we need to mow, cut sods and graze, simply to prevent forestation. Sometimes that can be difficult, particularly when forest lovers start a discussion with heather lovers.

  • Fighting environmental influences
    grazing cow, foto fitis, sytske dijksen

    Besides management regulations, people influence nature areas in other ways. Examples are acid rain, ammonia that is carried from farmlands via the air to nature areas, drainage and nutrient-rich non-local water intake. These kinds of influences usually have undesirable results. Heather fields are overgrown with grass; flower-rich wet grasslands change into fields with reed. To a certain degree, we combat the effects of these influences with management regulations.

  • Plants versus geese
    greylag geese, foto fitis, sytske dijksen

    One example of an area where management control determines how nature should look like is the Lake Amstel dike. Unusual plant species grow in this region, but there are also lots of graylag geese. Thatís not a good combination. The geese trample the plants and cause erosion of the banks. Nature manager Landschap Noord-holland had to choose between the birds and the plants. They choose to protect the plants by allowing the geese population to be kept in check through hunting. Thatís why you can still find red bartsia, glossy eyebright, centaury, yellow rattle, marsh helleborine and brass buttons growing here.