Background to the project
Lack of, or abandonment of management has resulted in a loss of conservation status for wooded pastures and meadow habitats (9070, 6530*) as well other outstanding and rare deciduous forest habitats, such as 9160, 9020 and 9190 and their associated species. One of the major threats to the habitats and species targeted in this project is that management has been abandoned or the natural disturbance factor like flooding is no longer functioning. This has resulted in significant overgrowing.
Drainage of the woodlands have resulted in loss of small wetlands and the associated flooding. Flooding is a natural disturbance that favours oak, since other tree species cannot stand being flooded in longer time intervals. Moreover, overgrowing lead to that other, more shade-tolerant tree species, like spruce, hornbeam, beech, maple, ash and linden dominate and oak recruitment is generally absent or very poor.
Massive cutting of ancient oak trees during the 19th and 20th century has created a situation in many areas where there are only a few living ancient trees left. These ancient trees harbor all, or nearly all, of the red-listed or threatened species. There is also a gap in the age distribution of the oak trees. The oldest trees except for the ancient oak trees are often about 150 years old and the red-listed species predominantly live in oaks older than 200 years. The number of red-listed species is not yet in equilibrium with the present amount of the habitat. We call this an extinction debt. The coming 50-100 years will be critical for the red-listed species. If we do not try to create more habitats for the red-listed species there risk for local extinction is substantial for many species.