Drents-Friese Wold - Biotope improvement for Crex crex in the brook valley of SPA Drents-Friese Wold

LIFE00 NAT/NL/007050

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Contact details:

Project Manager: Andries STOKER
Tel: +31 35 655 9868
Fax: +31 35 6559222
Email: a.stoker@natuurmonumenten.nl

Project description:


The 6,500 ha Drents-Friese Wold National Park is a semi-natural landscape of mesophilic grassland, heath and deciduous forest. It has long been an important nesting area for the corncrake (Crex crex). The upper courses of two streams, the Vledder Aa and the Tilgrup, and the grasslands associated with them, traditionally formed the heart of this landscape. However, in the 20th Century most of the Vledder Aa and the Tilgrup were canalised and ditches were cut in the grassland to intensify agriculture. In addition, during dry summers, eutrophic water from the River IJssel was let into the area. The hydrological management of the district was geared entirely to drainage. In the early 1990s, Natuurmonumenten developed a restoration plan for the area. It purchased and leased land in co-operation with local and national authorities and created the preconditions for restoring the river and grassland ecosystem. However, the soil of the grasslands was still heavily eutrophic and the streams were unable to perform their natural hydrological regulating function.


The LIFE project application was made to support a large-scale project to restore a nutrient-poor brook valley. This aimed to enable the redevelopment of valuable dry and humid brook valley grasslands, dry and humid heathland vegetation and the transitions between them. It sought to build on the initial efforts of Natuurmonumenten and the relevant authorities in restoring the grassland ecosystems in three core areas: Hertenkamp; Wateren; and Rijkmanshoeve. The project was designed to run alongside efforts outside of the scope of the project to restore the river ecosystems. This complementary work was to be undertaken by the local water board Reest and Wieden. The project’s activities were particularly intended to benefit the corn crake (Crex crex), but also species such as red-backed shrike (Lanius collurio) and the great crested newt (Triturus cristatus).


The project succeeded in creating the necessary conditions for the regrowth of the natural vegetation of nutrient-poor sandy soils. Although it is too early to see significant changes in actual vegetation development, there are already signs of positive changes in terms of the presence of characteristic or rare species. In July 2007, Crex crex was heard at Rijkmanshoeve. The main efforts of the project concentrated on removing nutrient-enriched top soil and restoring the natural topography of the selected areas to recreate small oligothropic ponds and sandy grasslands. Hedges were built up and scrub removed to restore grasslands. Small-scale deforestation was also undertaken in the Hertenkamp area, whilst hydrological measures were used to restore former irrigated meadows (‘vloeiweiden’) in the Wateren zone. The project's activities in restoring an entire brook valley system into its natural situation is unique for the Netherlands and will considerably increase the Corn crake's biotope. It is also important to note that the restored grounds in the brook valley directly connect onto existing nature areas to the West and East of the Vledder Aa, which are, therefore, now interlinked. Hiking paths were constructed, benches installed and information panels erected to improve the public engagement with the area and raise awareness of the value of the sites. The project has contributed to demonstrating the international importance of the National Park Drents-Friese Wold to the general public and to other organisations in the region. A particularly impressive aspect of the project was the strong integration achieved between the specific activities of the LIFE-Nature project and the measures of other important stakeholders, including the forest authority Staatsbosbeheer and the Drentse Landschap Foundation. The Water Board Reest en Wieden carried out complementary river restoration measures, including the re-meandering of old brook courses and the filling up of the canalised brooks and ditches in the area. The simultaneous implementation of the LIFE project and of the watercourse restoration project by the Water Board spared high economic and environmental costs of soil transportation for both projects, since the topsoil removed from the LIFE sites was used to block the relevant ditches. Furthermore, these combined actions have contributed to a much higher retention of water in the region and to the objectives of the Water Framework Directive.


Environmental issues addressed:


Species - Birds
Habitats - Grasslands


conflicting use‚  river management‚  drainage system‚  ecotourism‚  environmental impact of agriculture‚  eutrophication‚  grassland ecosystem‚  landscape conservation policy‚  renaturation‚  wetlands ecosystem‚  soil degradation‚  site rehabilitation‚  tourist facility‚  public-private partnership‚  development planning‚  pollution prevention‚  pollutant elimination‚  touristic zone‚  land restoration‚  management plan‚  restoration measure‚  water resources management‚  diffuse pollution

Target EU Legislation

  • Water
  • Directive 91/676 - Protection of waters against pollution caused by nitrates from agricultural so ...
  • Nature protection and Biodiversity
  • Directive 79/409 - Conservation of wild birds (02.04.1979)
  • Directive 92/43 - Conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora- Habitats Directiv ...
  • Decision 93/626 - Conclusion of the Convention on Biological Diversity (25.10.1993)
  • COM(95) 189 - "Communication on the judicious use and conservation of wetlands" (12.12.1995)
  • COM(98)42 -"Communication on a European Community Biodiversity Strategy" (05.02.1998)
  • COM(2001)162 -"Biodiversity Action Plan for the conservation of natural resources (vol. I & II)" ...

Target species

 Crex crex     

Target Habitat types

  • 2320 - Dry sand heaths with Calluna and Empetrum nigrum
  • 3260 - Water courses of plain to montane levels with the Ranunculion fluitantis and Callitricho-Batrachion vegetation
  • 4010 - Northern Atlantic wet heaths with Erica tetralix

Natura 2000 sites

SCI NL9803011 Drents-Friese Wold & Leggelerveld



Coordinator Vereniging Natuurmonumenten
Type of organisation NGO-Foundation
Description Natuurmonumenten is a large nature conservation NGO in the Netherlands, which aims to protect large natural and semi-natural landscapes in a way that is coherent with public enjoyment of the sites.
Partners None


Project reference LIFE00 NAT/NL/007050
Duration 01-NOV-2000 to 31-DEC -2006
Total budget 1,387,438.00 €
EU contribution 693,719.00 €
Project location Drenthe(Nederland)


Read more:

Project web site Project's webpage (NL)
Project web site Beneficiary's website (NL)


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