EU-Life-Project "Inland salt meadows in Brandenburg"


Sea aster and strawberry clover ......

are at home in saline soil. They grow in saline environments which, aside from sea coasts, are rare in Europe and are endangered. Such salt meadows are geological and botanical rarities for which Brandenburg has a special responsibility within Europe. Via the program LIFE-Natur (in german) the European Union is supporting a project until 2010 to preserve such habitats in Brandenburg.

How do inland salt meadows develop?

In inland salt meadows saline ground water rises to the surface. The salts come primarily from the Zechstein formation which came into being around 250 million years ago when a sea covered today's Central Europe. Normally mighty layers of clay prevent the rise of saline water into the freshwater near the surface. In places where there is no such clay saline water can rise to the surface and saline environments can develop. By just tasting the soil you don't notice the salt, however the salt levels are enough to provide a competitive advantage for particular kinds of vegetation. 

Plants like at the seaside

Salt levels are relatively high in those places where halophytes (plants native to environments with higher levels of salinity), such as hare's-foot clover, sea milkwort, saltmarsh rush, and sea aster, are found. Marginal halophytes such as strawberry clover and softstem bulrush prefer soils with a low salinity level. Salt tolerant species such as the roundfruit rush and the orchid orchis palustris are common in salt affected environments as well as in other areas.

An endangered environment

Salt meadows and pastures are semi-natural environments which first developed through their extensive use as prairies and pastures. Inland they are protected as high priority environments by the Habitats Directive of the EU.
The conditions for saline vegetation in Brandenburg have significantly worsened in the last decades. Saline, wetland and seasonally flooded environments have either completely disappeared (Great Havelland Fen) or been seriously damaged primarily by the melioration of lowlands. In many cases salt meadows are also no longer used, so that reed beds or willows and alder groves have developed.


The EU LIFE project "Inland Salt Meadows" aims to improve and, where possible reestablish, the conditions for the existence of salt meadows and pastures in several areas in Brandenburg.
We wish you happy reading on the website and hope, with your help, to be able to contribute to the protection of saline environments in Brandenburg.

Letzte Aktualisierung: 30.05.2013

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Landesamt für Umwelt
Referat N3 - Natura 2000,
Arten- u. Biotopschutz
Andreas Herrmann
Tel.: 033201/ 442-221
E-Mail an: Andreas Herrmann