Lupine project

The content on this page was translated automatically.

Conservation and Restoration of Species Diversity in the Mountain Meadows of the Rhön Biosphere Reserve - Management of the Invasive Perennial Lupine (Lupinus polyphyllus Lindl.) in a Complex System of Protected Areas.


In the Central European cultural landscape, a constant decline in species richness can be observed. Important causes for the area-wide decline of species are the intensification or abandonment of traditional use. Especially in the grasslands of the low mountain regions, secondary succession starting after abandonment or change of use and the invasion of invasive neophytes lead to dramatic species declines and consequently to a deterioration of mown material and forage quality. In the Rhön, invasive perennial lupine(Lupinus polyphyllus Lindl.) exhibits characteristics that lead to permanent changes in ecosystem processes and functions (e.g., nitrogen input and alteration of vegetation structure). L. polyphyllus additionally contributes to a loss of habitats worthy of protection, such as golden oat meadows and bristly grass lawns in particular. This is problematic, since golden oat meadows and bristly grass lawns are characterized by high floristic and faunistic species richness and thus represent special conservation assets.

Aims and procedure

Within the framework of two exploration projects (2015-2016), the extent of the current distribution of L. polyphyllus in the Rhön and the potentials for the renaturation of species-rich mountain meadows for the conservation of species diversity as well as a possible energetic use of the growth are currently being analyzed. This information is used in the project to develop and test a concept for the permanent restitution and conservation of large-scale, species-rich grassland in low mountain regions. In a first phase (24 months), mountain grassland restoration will be tested by activating the seed bank and transferring mown material containing diaspores, and the dispersal­processes of L. polyphyllus will be analyzed at the landscape level. Furthermore, the effects of a cutting regime suitable for the reduction of L. polyphyllus on the bioenergetic use of the annual green cuttings of mountain meadows will be investigated and the detection of L. polyphyllus dynamics by remote sensing methods will be tested. The results will be synthesized in the form of a predictive model. Dissemination of the findings will be ensured through the establishment of a network with other stakeholders, through the joint development of a brochure and via a project website.

Innovations and perspectives

The focal points are:

  • WP 1 - Restoration of mountain meadows invaded by L. polyphyllus through the activation of the seed bank and the transfer of species-rich mown material.
  • AP 2 - Analysis of the spreading processes of L. polyphyllus on landscape level
  • AP 3 - Energetic utilization of extensive grassland considering L. polyphyllus
  • AP 4 - Non-destructive, remote sensing assessment of the timing of cutting measures to control the invasive neophyte L. polyphyllus and its impact on the energetic parameters of grassland stands