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Rohrhardsberg - Rohrhardsberg, Upper Elz and Wilde Gutach

LIFE06 NAT/D/000003

Project description   Environmental issues   Beneficiaries   Administrative data   Read more   Print   PDF version  

Contact details:

Project Manager: Bernd-Jürgen SEITZ
Tel: +49 761 208 4131
Fax: +49 761 208 4157

Project description:


The Rohrhardsberg area is located in the central part of the Black Forest, southwest Germany. This region, an important stepping stone between the northern and the southern parts of the Black Forest, has been the focus of several other LIFE Nature projects, including ‘Grindenschwarzwald’, ‘Integrated habitat protection for Grouse’, ‘Coop - Grouse and Tourism’ and ‘Upper Hotzenwald’. At 1155 m above sea level, the Rohrhardsberg is one of the highest mountains in the project area. It is bordered by two rivers – the Elz and the Wilde Gutach. Three quarters of the project area are covered with forests, while the rest is dominated by species rich grasslands, in particular Nardus grasslands (priority for conservation). Other priority habitat types targeted are active raised bogs, bog woodlands, alluvial forests and Tilio-Acerion forests of slopes, screes and ravines. These woodlands are of national importance for several bird species listed in Annex I of the Birds Directive: the Tengmalm's owl (Aegolius funereus), pygmy owl (Glaucidium passerinum), capercaillie (Tetrao urogallus) and hazel grouse (Bonasa bonasia). The populations of hazel grouse, in particular, have greatly declined over the past ten years.


The main objective of the project was to develop and optimise a number of habitat types of EU importance found in the project area and to restore viable populations of bird species such as capercaillie and hazel grouse. Concrete actions included:

  • The restoration of around 50 ha of species-rich Nardus grasslands, through the removal of shrubs and invasive bracken, and through the re-instatement of a grazing management of these mountain pastures.
  • The restoration of around 17 ha of peat bogs, through the removal of spruce forests.
  • The re-naturalisation of a 600 m-stretch of alluvial forests along the Wilde Gutach river.
  • The partial removal of spruce on a 3-10 m-wide strip along 14.6 km of watercourses in the project area.
  • A small-scale pilot measure for the restoration of mountain heaths and capercaillie habitats, through prescribed burning.
  • Afforestation with 23 000 young trees of native non-commercial tree species.
  • A pilot project for managing 6 ha of coppice forests for bioenergetic purposes, while optimising their value as habitat for hazel grouse.
  • Pilot forestry management actions on 49 ha of spruce forests, either private or state-owned, aimed at optimising their value as a habitat for capercaillie.
  • Several small-scale measures aimed at maintaining open patches in the forest to promote species features and rare habitats, such as rock outcrops, on around 5 ha.

The project also planned to carry out preparatory actions for achieving a sustainable financing, organisation and communication of Natura 2000 management. Effort would be made to involve the local population in the management of Natura 2000, establish a forum for discussion and exchange of experience, and to develop Natura 2000 promotion material.


The project successfully completed the planned actions – the development and optimisation of the habitats (6230*, 7110*, 91D0*, 91E0*, 9180) and the development of viable populations of priority fauna species, such as European bullhead (Cottus gobio) and capercaillie (Tetrao urogallus). Specifically, around 100 ha of Nardus grassland habitats were improved, 25 ha of mires were restored and more than 60 ha of forests with grouse habitats were managed. In fact, the project exceeded its original expectations. The foreseen measures proved to be more cost effective than predicted, due to the involvement of volunteers and increases to the price of timber during the project duration. These factors allowed the project to exceed its conservation targets without significantly overspending the budget. The Nardus grassland conservation effort focused on introducing goat grazing, which leads to a successful repression of shrubs and little trees. In total 12 goat herds were created and these manage 64 ha of grasslands (mostly in combination with cattle). Implementing measures to manage forests by fire, however, was more difficult as expected, as conditions for setting fires in the higher regions of the Black Forests are rather unfavourable. The project team reacted to this difficulty and, in agreement with the LIFE Unit, slightly modified this action. The new approach allows a very flexible fire management on a smaller scale with a reduced administrative and organisational burden. The increased flexibility of the firemen permits them to make short-term decisions on burning and thus periods of fine weather can be used for fires at short notice. The extensive awareness-raising work contributed to the high acceptance of the project in the region. The project successfully communicated the goals of the Natura 2000 network and established an excellent relationship with the local public. The local population was actively engaged in Natura 2000 management in the creation of nature trails and guides.

Further information on the project can be found in the project's layman report (see "Read more" section).


Environmental issues addressed:


Species - Birds


forest ecosystem‚  protected area

Target species

 Aegolius funereus   Bonasa bonasia   Cottus gobio   Dryocopus martius   Glaucidium passerinum   Lampetra planeri   Lanius collurio   Tetrao urogallus   

Target Habitat types

  • 6230 - "Species-rich Nardus grasslands, on silicious substrates in mountain areas (and submountain areas in Continental Europe)"
  • 6430 - Hydrophilous tall herb fringe communities of plains and of the montane to alpine levels
  • 6510 - "Lowland hay meadows (Alopecurus pratensis, Sanguisorba officinalis)"
  • 7110 - Active raised bogs
  • 7120 - Degraded raised bogs still capable of natural regeneration
  • 7140 - Transition mires and quaking bogs
  • 7150 - Depressions on peat substrates of the Rhynchosporion
  • 7230 - Alkaline fens
  • 8150 - Medio-European upland siliceous screes
  • 8220 - Siliceous rocky slopes with chasmophytic vegetation
  • 8230 - Siliceous rock with pioneer vegetation of the Sedo-Scleranthion or of the Sedo albi-Veronicion dillenii
  • 9110 - Luzulo-Fagetum beech forests
  • 9130 - Asperulo-Fagetum beech forests
  • 9180 - "Tilio-Acerion forests of slopes, screes and ravines"
  • 91D0 - Bog woodland
  • 91E0 - "Alluvial forests with Alnus glutinosa and Fraxinus excelsior (Alno-Padion, Alnion incanae, Salicion albae)"
  • 9410 - Acidophilous Picea forests of the montane to alpine levels (Vaccinio-Piceetea)
  • 3150 - Natural eutrophic lakes with Magnopotamion or Hydrocharition - type vegetation
  • 3260 - Water courses of plain to montane levels with the Ranunculion fluitantis and Callitricho-Batrachion vegetation
  • 4030 - European dry heaths
  • 5130 - Juniperus communis formations on heaths or calcareous grasslands

Natura 2000 sites

SCI DE7914341 Rohrhardsberg, Obere Elz und Wilde Gutach



Coordinator Regierungspräsidium (RP) Freiburg, Abteilung 5, Ref. 56 Naturschutz und Landschaftspflege
Type of organisation Regional authority
Description The beneficiary, Referat 56 of the Regierungspräsidium Freiburg is in charge of nature conservation and landscape preservation issues. It is responsible for advising the government on species protection and Natura 2000, and for the evaluation of larger projects that might have an impact on nature. The Referat 56 has planned several large nature conservation projects and has also been involved in several previous LIFE Nature projects.
Partners Stiftung Naturschutzfonds, Germany FVA Freiburg, Germany Landratsamt Schwarzwald-Baar-Kreis, Germany Landschaftserhaltungsverband Emmendingen e.V., Germany Institut für Forstbenutzung und Forstliche Arbeitswissenschaft, Germany Schwarzwaldverein e.V., Germany Gemeinde Simonswald, Germany Global Fire Monitoring Centre, Germany Planet Film und Fernsehproduktions GmbH, Germany Landratsamt Ortenaukreis, Germany Landratsamt Emmendingen, Germany Stadt Elzach, Germany Gemeinde Gutach, Germany


Project reference LIFE06 NAT/D/000003
Duration 01-NOV-2006 to 31-OCT -2011
Total budget 1,917,133.00 €
EU contribution 958,566.00 €
Project location Baden-Württemberg(Deutschland)


Read more:

Project web site Project's website (DE)
Publication: Layman report Laienbericht
Publication: Layman report Layman report
Video link "Das Abenteuer um die Ecke : Auerhühner im Schwarzwald"(25')


Project description   Environmental issues   Beneficiaries   Administrative data   Read more   Print   PDF version