· Naturefund project info

Basic data: Fruit orchard near Limburg

View of the orchard Photo: Naturefund

Naturefund and HGON bought a fruit orchard near Limburg to secure it long-term as habitat for numerous rare species, such as eagle owls. A pair of eagle owls use the orchard as hunting ground and can regularly be observed there.

Location

The fruit orchard is located in the region of Limburg-Weilburg at the outskirts of Steeden, a quarter of Runkel.

Size

7.640 square metres

Wildlife

Red-backed shrike, great grey shrike, grasshopper warbler, blackcap, short-toed treecreeper, grass snake, blind worm, sand lizard, peacock butterfly, red admiral, map. Visiting species are kestrel, sparrow hawk, tawny owl and eagle owl.

Flora

Apple, plum and pear trees, cowslip, meadow saffron, potentilla argentea, dark mullein, wild morjoram, galatella linosyris, rampion bellflower, coronilla, round-headed leek, garden burnet, etc;

Special characteristics

The land is richly structured by old fruit trees and semi-dry grassland and bordered by small woods as well as bramble, raspberry, hawthorn and blackthorn hedges. The river Lahn is only about 300 metres away. Numerous rare kinds of butterflies can be found here. The eagle owl breeds in the adjacent quarry and comes to the orchard for hunting.

History

The fruit trees standing in the orchard near Steeden are approximately 80 years old. For about ten years the orchard was used as pasture. This use of the land displaced many rare species. The Hessische Gesellschaft für Ornithologie und Naturschutz e. V. (HGON) of Limburg-Weilburg has leased the land since 1996 and maintained it close to nature. Ever since numerous species have returned. Naturefund and HGON have now bought the orchard to prevent anew agricultural use in the future and to protect biodiversity long-term.

Partners

HGON is Naturefund's partner in this project and now owns the land. The HGON branch Limburg-Weilburg will protect the site from now on.

Management concept

Further old kinds of fruit trees, such as common medlar and service tree, will be planted in the future. A 'bee hotel' for wild bees shall also be set up. The old fruit trees will be maintained and the meadow mown once a year, but there will be no more fertilization of the land.

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More about the butterfly meadow

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