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The Green Belt as a European Ecological Network strengths and gaps

The Green Belt as a European Ecological Network strengths and gaps

Karl-Friedrich Thöne

Karl-Friedrich Thöne THE GREEN BELT IN THURINGIA – A VISIONARY IDEA Conservation (BfN) on the topic of “National Nature Monuments”. The F&E project will examine the role of the new category alongside the existing nature protection categories and will elaborate classification criteria for the Federal Nature Conservation Act (BNatschG) taking into account the international criteria used by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Although what has been achieved falls short of what would be ideal, the efforts undertaken by the Free State of Thuringia have been considerable. The TMLFUN has supported over 70 individual projects ranging from guided walks along the former border and school projects to grazing concepts for maintaining valuable open pastureland. In light of the complex conditions, more would not have been possible in the circumstances. The Green Belt will continue to be a central aspect of the Thuringian Ministry for Agriculture, Forestry, Environment and Nature Conservation’s efforts to maintain and promote the growing importance of interlinked networks of natural habitats. The Green Belt must also communicate to future generations how a dividing line through a country has become a unique space that is able to connect people and nature. 32

Schlumprecht, H., Laube, J. MONITORING BIODIVERSITY OF THE THURINGIAN GREEN BELT MONITORING BIODIVERSITY OF THE THURINGIAN GREEN BELT ABSTRACT Helmut Schlumprecht, Julia Laube Büro für ökologische Studien GdbR Oberkonnersreuther Straße 6a, DE-95448 Bayreuth, Germany Helmut.Schlumprecht@bfoes.de, Julia.Laube@yahoo.de In 2010 and 2011, the Foundation for Nature Conservation Thuringia initiated a monitoring programme on its property within the Thuringian Green Belt. The aim of this monitoring programme is to document the distribution of threatened species and habitats, to describe changes in habitat distribution, to evaluate management measures and to preserve and enhance the biodiversity of the Thuringian Green Belt. Until now, the biotope types of the Inner German Green Belt were systematically surveyed but detailed information on species and threatened species is lacking. Therefore, this monitoring programme includes a systematic investigation at the species level. The concept of the monitoring programme includes a spatially explicit and comprehensive survey of biotopes (land use types and valuable biotopes for nature conservation) in 30 selected monitoring areas, a survey of characteristic and threatened plants and a standardised zoological survey of breeding birds, butterflies and grasshoppers. The main results of the first monitoring period are presented. The influence of extensive land use (e.g. grazing and mowing) on overall species richness (threatened and not threatened), occurrence of red list species (plants and animals), and biotope types is analysed. The diversity of characteristic plant species and its dependence on land use types is investigated. Threats for the biodiversity of the Thuringian Green Belt are detected (e.g. intensification of land use; succession and shrub encroachment; invasive plants), and proposals for management measures are given. The monitoring programme is the first comprehensive monitoring programme for the Green Belt in Germany. It enables the Foundation for Nature Conservation Thuringia to develop and improve management measures on a sound basis and to evaluate their success. 1 INTRODUCTION 1.1 Motivation In 2010 and 2011, the Foundation for Nature Conservation Thuringia (Stiftung Naturschutz Thüringen, Erfurt) initiated a monitoring programme on its freehold (about 3600- 3800 ha) in the Thuringian Green Belt. The aim of this monitoring programme is to document the distribution of threatened species and habitats, to describe changes in habitat distribution, to evaluate management measures and to preserve and enhance the biodiversity of the Thuringian Green Belt. Due to its former military use, the characteristic biotopes of the Green Belt are those of open land. Recent land use changes in the area are manifold, and range from partly illegal construction of buildings to intensification of agricultural use (meadows transformed to arable land) to abandonment of land use with succession to forests. To date, the biotope types of the Inner German Green Belt were systematically surveyed [1], but a systematic investigation of species and threatened species of the Thuringian Green Belt is lacking. Many local surveys (e.g. the Saxonian Green Belt) and campaigns (e.g. 5 th GEO-day of biodiversity 2003, 7 sites) revealed that the Green Belt is populated by a large number of threatened species. The monitoring programme described here represents the first systematic investigation at the species level of the Thuringian Green Belt. The central aim of the project was to create a feasible concept for long-term monitoring of the Thuringian Green 33

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