Water grasslands in Germany
03.05.2017, by Alexandra Kruse
Research: Alexandra Kruse & Michael Roth; upload: Bénédicte Gaillard: The entries are still in process
Water meadows are a traditional cultural landscape with origin in the 12th century. A system of small canals/ditches and small lakes (Weiher) have been created, in order to collect water from houses, streets and stables which shall be brought into the meadows in order to increase their productivity.
The highest importance was most probably reached in the 19th century.
Depending on the given water and relief, there exist(ed) different methods/ techniques, e.g. Überstauung, natürlichen Hangbau, Beethangbau oder der Rückenbau: The latter consists of a complete change of the meadow’s surface.
Effects: Influence on the vegetation (composition) and on the ditches. Further water meadows have a high diversity on structure and are often listed as cultural memorial (Kulturdenkmäler. [Landschaftspflegeverband Südpfalz]
Hoppe 2001, PDF
NABU (2004): Projekt Wässerwiesen Riedfurttalaue Güglingen, Präsentation NABU Group Güglingen/Germany
see attached excel file: Collection of Literature on water meadows compiled by Klaus Hünerfauth, Neustadt/Germany
Water meadows are rare today. They have and they had only regional occurence.
Concentration in Lower Saxony and in the South, in the middle altitudes.
They existed in the inner Alpine dry areas.
Locations in the South of Germany:
- Pfälzerwald: Queichwiesen between Landau and Germersheim
- Speyerbach next to Geinsheim between Frohnsheim and Aumühle (60 km of ditches? – do not exist anymore);
- Further: Frankeneck, Sattelmühle, Kupfermühle
- Elmsteiner Tal; Emmerzhausen Rheinland-Pfalz
- Elzwiesen/ Rust
- Moosalbtal, Schutter/Schwarzwald
- Jossa, Sinngrund/Spessart
- Wuhren/Hotzenwald, Südschwarzwald
- Rieselwiesen Wiedenhof (landscape museum Kiekeberg/Lower Saxonia)
- Örtze/Lower Saxony
- Wiesenbewässerung along the Soeste next to Cloppenburg
- Blies in the north of the Saarland
- Rieselwiesen im Sauerland (North Rhine-Westphalia), e. G. in Wilnsdorf
•Northwestern Germany, since 15th cent.
•Stau- und Rieselbewässerung, to improve the productivity of hay; in general: improving the productivity
•In Nordwest-Germany there can be fixed six centres of water meadowing (Hoppe 2001, PDF).
•Often organised in cooperations (Genossenschaften)
•Centre: pleistocan Sandlandscapes of the north German bassin, areas with only low natural productivity. The water-fertilisation was later replaced by chemical fertilisers
Today nearly abandoned. Only a few areas do still practice, e.g. in the Senne (a heath region in the east of Münster), most areas are today used as field for crop production
No data available (at the moment)
It has a certain meaning in biodiversity, therefore there are programs for maintenance
There is not much awareness about this (old) landscape type in Germany.
There are approaches and some programs in order to maintain these old types either to improve productivity or for biodiversity means. See e.g. the project of NABU Gruppe Güglingen who have restored the water management system of the Riedfurttalaue/Güglingen in 2004