Revitalisation of the Nature Conservation Area (NSG) “Hangquellmoor Binsenberg”

The nature conservation area “Hangquellmoor Binsenberg“ (a sloping spring fen) represents one of the largest and thickest calcareous spring mires in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania (with an area of ca. 30 hectares and a thickness up to 8 metres). It is located near the original valley watershed in the Little Landgraben Valley. The outflow of spring water in both directions served as the main feeder of the percolation mire that was formed in this glacial drainage channel.

Until the mid-20th century, the area was only used extensively, but in the 1970s increased efforts were undertaken to drain the fen.

Fortunately, the high level of artesian groundwater has prevented an intensive use and favoured the preservation of several species of plants and animals characteristic of nutrient-poor, calcareous peatlands. These include several plant species, such as Blue Marsh Felwort (Swertia perennis), Bird’s-eye Primrose (Primula farinosa) and both Black and Rust Bog-rush (Schoenus nigricans and S. ferrugineus), which have become extremely rare in Northeast Germany. They managed to survive in an exceptionally small area (ca. 0.1 hectares), which can be assigned to the FFH habitat type “Alkaline Fens.” It is surrounded by a purple moor grass meadow (also an FFH habitat type, ca. 2 hectares) with a high proportion of Bluntflower Rush (Juncus subnodulosus). Impoundment measures, implemented after the site was placed under protection in 1998, failed to satisfactorily improve the overall condition of the area. In many parts of the fen, water levels remain too low to prevent peat degradation and the release of nutrients.

 

 

Goals

As part of the transfer of National Natural Heritage Sites to states, foundations and associations, the Michael Succow Foundation took over the areas mentioned above. The spring mire complex was scheduled for revitalisation under the funding guideline for water bodies and wetlands (FöRiGeF).

The goal of this measure was the restoration of a close to natural water balance, the preservation of existing protective goods and an increase of habitat types worthy of protection. This includes the continued development of plant associations towards a more natural state (e.g., purple moor grass meadows to common sedge mires). Shallow peat cutting of heavily eutrophied and drained surfaces over nutrient-poor fens offers a particularly promising way of restoring new lime-rich, nutrient-poor habitats. The removal of 20-40 centimetres of topsoil supplies fill material for drainage ditches; at the same time, it frees up nutrient-poor substrates on which the target vegetation can re-establish itself. The regrowth of pertinent plant species has been facilitated through a number of measures. Due to changes in environmental conditions, a prognosis as to the ultimate success remains difficult. However, it is safe to assume that the new vegetation will approach a closer to natural state. To date, many examples of resource preservation in older peat cutting areas indicate that this may indeed be the best approach to increase nutrient-poor fen habitats.
 
The above measures were accompanied by scientific studies, and we have been developing a hydrological and conservation-specific development concept for the surrounding areas. Specially designed measures were aimed at preventing potentially adverse hydrological effects of shallow peat cutting. Basis data were supplied through hydro-modeling.

 

The Water and Soil Association “Lower Tollense – Middle Peene“ (Jarmen), the Land Association (Landgesellschaft) Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania (Leetzen), the working group of the engineering firm Seidlein and Schmidt (Stralsund and Demmin), the planning office ILN plus (Greifswald) and the professorship for hydrology at the University of Rostock served as co-operative partners of this project.

 

The project was financed under the funding guideline for water bodies and wetlands (FöRiGeF) with funds from the ELER programme of the EU. Funding is administered according to the guideline by the State Office for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Geology (LUNG), Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania.

 

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Project coordination:

Ingo Koska