Better BirdLIFE - Improvement of natural habitats for coastal birds in the West Baltic Sea

LIFE17 NAT/DK/000498

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Contact details:

Contact person: Jakob Martin Pedersen
Tel: 4588884838
Email: teknik@middelfart.dk

Project description:


The conservation status of a number of habitat types and bird species is classed as unfavourable-bad or unfavourable-insufficient within 12 Natura 2000 sites in Denmark and Germany. This is the case for 14 bird species, 10 of which are listed in the Annex 1 of Birds Directive, and 10 habitat types listed in the Annex 1 of Habitats Directive.

There are a number of issues and barriers preventing improvement of these species' and habitats' conservation status. These include: overgrowth by herbaceous or woody species; a lack of natural hydrology at breeding sites; predation; a shortage of feeding sites; a dearth of breeding and wintering locations due to fragmentation and the condition of natural habitats; disturbances at breeding and wintering sites; and their deterioration due to heavy nutrient loads. A lack of public awareness about the Natura 2000 network is also a difficulty.


Better BirdLIFE will take measures to counteract these issues and improve the conservation status of the 14 bird species and 10 habitat types targeted within the project area. As an additional benefit, it will also help improve the conservation status of two marine mammals, the harbour porpoise (Phocoena phocoena) and the harbour seal (Phoca vitulina).

The project will contribute to implementation of a range of EU legislation and policy, including the Birds and Habitats Directives, the Biodiversity Strategy, the Marine Strategy Framework Directive and the Water Framework Directive. The project will contribute to the fulfilling of Natura 2000 plans in accordance to Danish and German legislation (The Environmental Targets Act).

  • Improve the natural habitats of 10 species listed in Annex I of the Birds Directive and of four species regularly occurring migratory bird;
  • Improve the conservation status (currently unfavourable) of these 14 bird species in the project area;
  • Contribute to obtaining favourable conservation status for 10 habitat types (present status unfavourable) listed in Annex I of the Habitats Directive.
  • Expected results:

  • Increased populations of five breeding and four migratory species of coastal birds;
  • New breeding populations of five species of coastal birds;
  • Improved conservation status on more than 520 ha of Atlantic salt meadows and on over 40 ha of alkaline fens;
  • Clearing of trees, shrubs and bushes on almost 155 ha;
  • Establishment of grazing on around 90 ha;
  • Reduction in the number of predators, or their elimination (on islands), by using mink traps and artificial fox dens;
  • Conversion of over 60 ha of arable land into areas that will develop into natural habitats over time;
  • Restoration of 30 ha of reefs;
  • Over 1 ha of eelgrass meadows established;
  • Establishment of 12 islands/breeding sites in shallow waters;
  • Greater public awareness of the Natura 2000 network;
  • Development of a database featuring best practices for each species and/or habitat type.



Environmental issues addressed:


Habitats - Coastal
Species - Birds
Habitats - Grasslands


grazing‚  migratory species‚  coastal area‚  restoration measure

Target EU Legislation

  • Nature protection and Biodiversity
  • COM(2011) 244 final “Our life insurance, our natural capital: an EU biodiversity strategy to 2020 ...
  • 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 ...
  • Marine environment and Coasts
  • Directive 2008/56 - Framework for community action in the field of marine environmental policy (M ...

Target species

 Asio flammeus   Aythya marila   Crex crex   Mergus serrator   Philomachus pugnax   Pluvialis apricaria   Porzana porzana   Recurvirostra avosetta   Somateria mollissima   Sterna albifrons   Sterna hirundo   Sterna paradisaea   Sterna sandvicensis     

Target Habitat types

  • 7230 - Alkaline fens
  • 1150 - Coastal lagoons
  • 1170 - Reefs
  • 1220 - Perennial vegetation of stony banks
  • 1330 - Atlantic salt meadows (Glauco-Puccinellietalia maritimae)
  • 2120 - Shifting dunes along the shoreline with Ammophila arenaria ("white dunes")
  • 2130 - Fixed coastal dunes with herbaceous vegetation ("grey dunes")
  • 6120 - Xeric sand calcareous grasslands
  • 6210 - Semi-natural dry grasslands and scrubland facies on calcareous substrates (Festuco-Brometalia) (* important orchid sites)
  • 6230 - "Species-rich Nardus grasslands, on silicious substrates in mountain areas (and submountain areas in Continental Europe)"

Natura 2000 sites

SPA DK006X081 Karrebæk, Dybsø og Avnø Fjorde
SPA DK006X088 Nakskov Fjord og Inderfjord
SPA DK006X089 Præstø Fjord, Ulfshale, Nyord og Jungshoved Nor
SPA DK008X076 Æbelø og kysten ved Nærå
SPA DK008Z047 Lillebælt
SPA DK009X064 Flensborg Fjord og Nybøl Nor
SCI DK006X233 Havet og kysten mellem Præstø Fjord og Grønsund
SCI DK006X234 Havet og kysten mellem Karrebæk Fjord og Knudshoved Odde
SCI DK006X242 Nakskov Fjord
SCI DK008X047 Lillebælt
SCI DK008X075 Odense Fjord
SCI DK008X184 Æbelø, havet syd for og Nærå
SCI DK008X201 Sydfynske Øhav
SCI DK00VA254 Flensborg Fjord, Bredgrund og farvandet omkring Als



Coordinator Middelfart Kommune
Type of organisation Local authority
Description The municipality of Middelfart is a local authority in Denmark which also oversees nature conservation on public and private land, stream restoration and projects linked to the creation of wetlands and new natural areas.
Partners Danish Coastal Authority, Denmark Naturstyrelsen, Denmark Fugleværnsfonden, Denmark Department of Biology, University of Southern Denmark, Denmark Kerteminde Kommune, Denmark Stiftung Naturschutz Schleswig-Holstein, Germany Kolding Kommune, Denmark Nordfyns Kommune, Denmark Sønderborg Kommune, Denmark


Project reference LIFE17 NAT/DK/000498
Duration 01-SEP-2018 to 01-OCT -2025
Total budget 8,421,446.00 €
EU contribution 5,052,870.00 €
Project location Schleswig-Holstein(Deutschland) Syddanmark(Danmark)


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