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Alpine Grassland Management Workshop

Dates: 9 - 11 December 2015

Location: Educational Centre of the Bavarian Academy for Nature Conservation and Landscape Management (ANL), Kapuzinerhof, Laufen, Germany


Bavarian Academy for Nature Conservation and Landscape Management (ANL)
Butterfly Conservation Europe (BCE)


The Alpine biogeographic region is especially rich in wildlife and wild nature, but it is also an ancient cultural landscape formed by the influence of mankind and its livestock. Many habitats from the valley floors to the high mountains depend on active management. The appropriate basic treatment of most habitats is reasonably well-known, but what about management needs beyond basics? For example, what do we know about the contrasting needs of focal species, managing mixed grassland-forest habitats, mosaic landscapes, dates of mowing, needs of variable management, etc.

The aim of this Workshop is to bring together issues and solutions for the management of Alpine grasslands in diverse settings and to summarize appropriate strategies and management tools. Can we learn from each other and decide how difficulties can be overcome? Our speakers will provide best practice examples how they identified and solved shortcomings of standard management, but there will also be ample space for discussions among the participants. We aim to provide a selection of examples of how to ensure the long-term protection of biodiversity in the Alpine Biogeographical Region and to disseminate our conclusions more widely after the Workshop.

The recent EU Natura 2000 Management Seminar for the Alpine Region included a focus on grassland conservation. In conclusion, participants confirmed a shared interest in following up particular aspects, including:

  • Improving knowledge and awareness of how to manage Alpine grasslands to conserve characteristic habitats and species;
  • How to apply the concept of favourable conservation status and improve monitoring of grasslands;
  • How to avoid abandonment / intensification that is damaging to biodiversity;
  • Developing and sharing knowledge about landscape approaches for Alpine grassland conservation

This Workshop will address these issues.

The objective of the Workshop is to share practical experience and improve knowledge about Grassland management to conserve and enhance Alpine grassland habitats and their characteristic species.

The outputs of the workshop will also be relevant to debates that are commencing on the definition of Favourable Reference Values (FRV), used in assessments of Favourable Conservation Status (FCS) in accordance with Article 17 of the Habitats Directive. The Workshop will draw on the results of the complementary Alpine Grassland Monitoring Workshop, held in Italy in May 2015, which had a mainly botanical focus.

Workshop Content
It is planned that the Workshop will be interactive, with Plenary sessions and breakout groups plus a knowledge market, and time for informal networking.

The Workshop will open with a presentation setting the context, including the EU Biodiversity Strategy, particularly targets 1 and 3; the results of the recent Article 17 Conservation Assessments for Alpine Grasslands and their characteristic species; and the conclusions of the grassland discussions at the EU Natura 2000 Alpine Biogeographic Region Management Seminar, held in Graz in 2014.

The geographical focus will be on grasslands of the Alpine Arc and the Carpathians.

The subject focus will be organised around the following five topics:

  • Developing and maintaining habitat and species diversity in high Alpine summer meadows;
  • Managing lower altitude Alpine grasslands under low-intensity use and mixed grassland – forest habitats;
  • Dates and frequency of management (especially mowing);
  • Avoiding both abandonment and overgrazing which damage biodiversity;
  • Strengthening links between science, management efforts and monitoring biodiversity outcomes;
  • Conclusions will be summarized and further follow up action discussed in the final session of the Workshop.

Target Audience

  • Experienced managers of Alpine grasslands and mosaics of grassland and woodland;
  • Experts with practical knowledge of conservation of Alpine habitats and species, including lepidopterists and botanists;
  • Policy makers or statutory authorities with experience of facilitating positive management of Alpine Natura 2000 habitats and species, inside and beyond sites, including through integrated socio-economic approaches.

Results of the workshop

Full workshop results are available from a dedicated page.