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Our Schwentine Valley pasture land project

Corn crake in a meadow (© Sergey Yeliseev/Wikimedia commons)Corn crake in a meadow (© Sergey Yeliseev/Wikimedia commons)In the immediate proximity of our Raisdorf Ponds nature reserve, between Preetz and Raisdorf, lies the small River Schwentine which has largely retained its near-natural condition. Over centuries of use as pastureland, a structurally-rich cultivated landscape has developed, which includes riverine woods and reed beds as well as hedges and meadows. As pasture became uneconomic for the farmers, large tracts of land to protect the area as a nature reserve were purchased initially by the Raisdorf community and at a later date by CABS. Further areas beyond the meadows were added afterwards through their purchase by the ‘Stiftung Naturschutz’ (Nature Protection Foundation) of the state of Schleswig-Holstein. Since 2004 some 680,000 m² are under nature protection.

A large number of rare and endangered species of flora and fauna occur in the area. Of special mention are the breeding populations of endangered birds that only occur in the open countryside, such as Whinchat, Corncrake and Red-backed Shrike. The meadows along the river have positively developed as habitats for winter guests and birds on passage: White-tailed Eagle, Snipe, Goldeneye and Goosander are observed regularly. On 6 newly created ponds Common, European Tree, Pool and Moor Frogs, as well as toads and Smooth Newts and numerous damsel and dragonfly species and Grass Snakes, have taken up residence.

Meadow Pipit (© Andreas Trepte/ Wikimedia commons)Meadow Pipit (© Andreas Trepte/ Wikimedia commons)Three property owners have signed a contract committing them to management of the Schwentine Valley Pastures from 2004 onwards. The near-natural landscape is to be preserved and promoted through extensive cattle grazing – the landscape care will be undertaken by our partner organisation ‘knik e.V.’ with its office in Raisdorf.

The development to date has already led to the area being designated a reserve of European importance in the context of the FFH guidelines (Flora Fauna Habitat Guidelines). We are convinced that the measures taken will prove to be an outstanding contribution to nature protection, and that the Schwentine Valley will make its name as model project well beyond the borders of Schleswig-Holstein.