Sheep and cattle are conservationists in the Döberitzer Heide

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Elstal: Sheep and Cattle Conservationists in the Döberitzer Heide

Stall.Live species protection has many facets in the Döberitzer Heide. Galway cows and water buffalo keep the lawn below wet pens and use their tracks to create migration routes for amphibians. Skudden, Heidschnucken, and Herdwicks eat lean grasses and keep emerging woody areas short.

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Querhammer family with appropriate vital care

For 30 years, Helmut Querhammer has had strong cattle breeds grazing the Sielmanns Döberitzer Heide landscape areas in the service of species protection. His daughter, Lisa Kuerhammer, worked with old breeds of sheep in the northwest Döberitzer Heide tending dry, sloppy sites for five years. Helmut Koerhammer, organic grower explains: “Many nature conservation areas do not tolerate active treatment with heavy machinery, but need care adapted to the bioenvironment involved. Wet areas in particular can only be treated very poorly or not at all. with machines.” In Fehrland near Potsdam.

Water buffalo in Verbitz meadows

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He specialized in grazing nature reserves for 30 years. I started with three animals. Today he has a total of 190 animals grazing on the 300 hectares of the nature reserve. 120 Galway cattle and about 20 water buffaloes alone at the edge of Ferbitzer Bruch, a low marshy area in the Sielmann landscape at Döberitzer Heide, at Kiefbruch as well as in the Priorter meadows and at Große Grabenniederung. In total, the animals care for 120 hectares of grassland in the Döberitzer Heide.

Water buffalo in the Döberitzer Heide

Water buffalo adapts particularly well to wet areas. Do not dive too deeply into the wet ground and gently touch the surface. Buffalo eat reeds and galloway also eat freshly planted hard reed grass that other animals leave behind. Its footprints, tracks, plunge pools, and sandbathing areas expand the habitat mosaic of many often endangered plant and animal species. In especially humid places, strong animals leave damp paths on which amphibians, for example, can migrate and spread. Or butterflies strengthen themselves in the spring sun on a paw imprint filled with water.

Cattle (Bos primigenius taurus) of the Galloway breed.  in Döberitz Heath

Cattle (Bos primigenius taurus) of the Galloway breed. in Döberitz Heath

Baby cows spend the winter in the former display enclosure of the Heinz Sielmann Foundation in Elstal. There they are fed during the cold season and give birth to their calves relatively protected. Five buffalo calves have been born this year, then go out to the meadows with the mother cows in the spring.

Sheep Landscape Conservation: Herdwicks in Havelland

Daughter Lisa Kuerhammer specialized in landscape maintenance with sheep. With their food preferences and economy, Skudden and Heidschnucke are an ideal format for dry locations. Old breeds of sheep, which in the meantime are becoming rare, prefer lean grass. A small herd of Herdwicks from northern England also graze in secluded marginal areas. They also like to take growing trees and shrubs with them as a treat. This prevents bush encroachment and forest cover to preserve open landscapes for species that are vulnerable to competition and love warmth,” says Lisa Kuerhammer, who has operated her Betula organic farm in Elstal for five years.

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Converting the old headquarters

Their animals graze in and around the establishment’s former display enclosure, which now serves as wintering grounds for the animals of Querhammer Farms. In addition, they also nurture in the areas located in the center of the future nature experience, the office of the former commander. It eats a total of 150 sheep on an area of ​​about 100 hectares in the natural area of ​​Döberitzer Heide in Sielmann. Some areas are surrounded by permanent fencing, some animals migrate and are protected by mobile electric fences. Three cattle protection dogs have also been part of the herd for two years and are meant to protect against wolf attacks.

Heidschnucken in the old residence of the Döberitzer Heide

Heidschnucken in the old residence of the Döberitzer Heide

Sheep herding follows a well-developed system. So that the Skylark can reproduce, some areas are grazed later in the year or not at all. Withered perennial stems and tall grasses remain and provide a vantage point or certain insects a place to hibernate. Elsewhere, animals eat plants right down to the sand, because sandy areas provide a habitat for wild bees and other insects that build nests and breeding grounds in the sand.

Rare animals in the Döberitzer Heide

Many rare insects and birds prefer the open and semi-open landscapes of the Döberitzer Heide with scattered oak forests and open sandy or moist areas. Rare wild bees find breeding grounds in the sandy soil, and large and small butterflies find food on the edges of the forest. Birds such as hoopoe, wheatgrass, and grouse, which are hard to find anywhere else in the agricultural landscape, live in increasing numbers on an area of ​​3,600 hectares. Cranes, otters, and the fire-cracking frog, so endangered across the country, feel right at home in the wetlands.

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This is why the landscape of the Döberitzer Heide in Sielmann has the highest European protection as a habitat for flora and fauna, and is also partly classified as a bird sanctuary.

From MAZ Online

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