Precursor project Meadow Birds


The LIFE project "Meadow Birds" (LIFE10 NAT/DE/000011), fully titled "Waterlogging and grassland extensification in Lower Saxony to improve habitats of the Corncrake (Crex crex) and the Black-tailed Godwit (Limosa limosa)", has successfully implemented actions for meadow bird conservation over the last decade. GrassBirdHabitats was created as a successor project in order to continue the work of its precursor on a larger scale.

LIFE Meadow Birds started in November 2011 and will be concluded by the end of 2025. When it started, Meadow Birds was the largest LIFE project ever granted in Germany. 

The German State of Lower Saxony is the so-called coordinating beneficiary. Project partners are the Dutch nature conservation organisation Natuurmonumenten, the German environmental NGO Baltic Environmetal Forum Deutschland (BEF Germany) and the administration of the Lower Saxony Wadden Sea National Park.

Project areas

Until the end of 2024, the project continues to optimise the most important habitats of the Corncrake and the Black-tailed Godwit in Lower Saxony. These are 12 sites that are spread across Lower Saxony and cover approximately 80,000 hectares (excluding coastal areas of the Wadden Sea National Park), of which 45,000 hectares are grassland. 

About half of the Corncrakes and more than two thirds of the Black-tailed Godwits in Lower Saxony are found on this comparatively small sites (1.7 % of the state’s area). Therefore, significant shares of the species’ populations can be protected and improved with maximum efficiency of available resources.

Achievements so far

Until today, around 2,000 hectares of grassland got rewetted. Another 200 hectares will be added by the end of 2024. Also, 960 hectares were restored to extensive grassland use. As a prerequisite for grazing, 26 kilometres of fencing have been installed so far, and about 17 hectares of open landscape have been cleared of obstructive woody plants to protect breeding meadow birds.

Within the framework of the LIFE project Meadow Birds, the target of 623 hectares of land acquisition was clearly exceeded: In total, 900 hectares of land were acquired – a great success and an important building block for the restoration of habitats for meadow birds in Lower Saxony, and thus their long-term conservation. 

In addition to the LIFE budget, the State of Lower Saxony has provided more than 11 million euros to this endeavor.

Find out more about the achievements and the project in general in the results booklet (see below) on the website of LIFE Meadow Birds.

Results booklet

Get a detailed insight into the project, its objectives, measures and achievements, as well as meadow birds in general.