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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

The farmers used to have to regularly mow or burn the dune valleys in order to maintain the short growth which was necessary for grazing. By doing so, circumstances evolved whereby plants such as early marsh orchid and bog pimpernel were able to grow. Because we want to protect these plants nowadays, nature managers imitate the earlier farmers with the help of regulations for nature conservation.Regulations for nature management are applied for conserving many types of landscapes which would disappear without the intervention of man. In coastal regions, they are especially applied in the dunes and salt marshes.

  • Fighting natural succession
    Succession, Ecomare

    If we were to allow nature to take its normal course, many nature areas would eventually turn into forest through natural succession. A mowed field, when left alone, would slowly change into a wild grassland. Afterwards, a brushwood of bushes and higher plants would evolve. Slowly but surely, a few trees would start growing on the former pasture. More and more trees would come, and that is how the forest would form. As the forest ages, an occasional tree will die from old age, falling during hard winds. In that way, an open area is created where succession can begin again until the forest is thick with trees. However, the nature managing organizations do not want forests everywhere: species-rich grasslands, open, nutrient-poor marsh areas and extensive fields of heather stand at the top of the list for the most valued nature terrains. All of these types of landscape would eventually become forests. Therefore, extra regulations are necessary to prevent this from happening.
    This kind of thinking reveals a notable paradox. Maintaining one form of nature, open landscape, makes it necessary to artificially block another form of nature, succession which leads to forest.

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

    Besides natural succession, influences from human origin also play a role. Examples of those kinds of influences are the strongly acid precipitation, the great increase in the amount of nitrogen ending up in nature areas via the atmosphere, the large amount of dehydration of swampy regions and the increase in the phosphate load in nutrient-poor marshes by admitting nutrient-rich water from other areas. These kinds of processes often have undesired effects: heather fields grass over, wet grasslands rich in orchids change into fields of reed. One can partially fight the effects of these kinds of influences with management regulations.

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

    The dike of the Amstel Lake is a good example of an area where management regulations determine what nature will look like. Unusual plant species as well as many greylag geese are found in this area, but they cannot live together. The geese trample the plants and cause erosion of the banks. Landschap Noord-Holland had to choose between birds and plants and finally decided in favor of the vegetation. There is now a large diversity of plant species, such as red and glossy eyebright, lesser centaury, greater yellow rattler, marsh helleborine and brass buttons, while hunting the greylag geese keeps the rapidly growing population under control.