INTEGRATED HABITAT PROTECTION FOR THE GROUSE IN THE
BLACK FOREST / GERMANY
The project area is located in the southern Black forest and surrounds the Feldberg which is, at 1493 m., the highest mountain in Baden-Württemberg and a popular destination year-round for tours and outdoor sports. To serve the two million visitors a year, a dense network of hiking tracks, cross-country skiing routes and downhill ski fields has been created, and it is planned to expand this further. Simultaneously the Feldberg area is, because of its altitude, one of the last refuges of sub-Alpine fauna and flora outside the Alps themselves. Typical species are two kinds of grouse, the capercaillie and the hazel grouse. However, the number of grouse have been declining radically for many years.
The competition over a limited area increasingly lead to conflicts between species and habitat protection on the one hand and tourism on the other.
The central aim of the LIFE-project was to reconcile tourism and conservation. In order to achieve these objective, a broad interdisciplinary approach was chosen, consisting of the following elements.
The catalogue of integrated actions was implemented and coordinated in a two-phase method:
The first step was to tune the measures for habitat improvement within a spatial concept with undisturbed zones for wildlife in which silvicultural measures should improve habitat structures for Capercaillie and Hazel grouse. The second step was coordination with local authorities and NGO’s to concentrate and improve the tourist infrastructure outside these wildlife-zones.
The result of the project has been a win-win-situation: improvement of habitat structures as well as improved offer for tourism. Instead of unilateral bans, clever visitor guidance and well-targeted alterations to forest structures should improve the prospects of survival for the grouse and act as a model for similar projects.
Duration: 01 May 1998 to 30 April 2002
Forstliche Versuchs- und Forschungsanstalt Baden-Württemberg (FVA)
Project Leader: Dr. Rudi Suchant, FVA