The evaluation of the detailed area survey has been done and brings something gratifying to light: over 400 individuals of four different orchid species could be counted on one of our areas.
This is gratifying because all wild orchid species in Germany are protected by law, and some species are even protected by international and European agreements. The preservation and promotion of orchid populations is therefore a top priority for us.
The main threats to many orchids include habitat loss, land use changes – especially intensification, fallowing and nutrient inputs (eutrophication), which are specifically counteracted at HeimatERBE sites.
The local NABU group has been monitoring the development of the orchids for years and has noticed dramatic declines as the area has become fallow. Man-high and dense dominant stands of the invasive Canada Goldenrod (Solidago canadensis) as well as incipient scrub encroachment began to displace the orchids.
With the takeover of the fallow area by HeimatERBE, maintenance measures of the open land were started as soon as possible. The extensive open land maintenance is ensured by mowing with a small tractor in combination with a double-blade mower and subsequent removal of the biomass. In order to protect flora and fauna, we set the mowing period outside the breeding and seeding seasons and after the flowering time of our orchids.
These extensive maintenance measures of the open land create valuable refugial biotopes for many species. A species protection expert accompanying HeimatERBE recently described the HeimatERBE areas as Noah’s Ark of the landscape. We were very pleased by this high praise and at the same time it made clear to us once again our responsibility towards nature.
P.s.: We deliberately treat the exact growing location of our orchids sensitively, since wild orchids are unfortunately still illegally dug up for one’s own garden. However, this is doomed to failure, as they have special requirements for the soil and fungi contained therein, with which they live in symbiosis (=mycorrhiza).
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