As in many areas in Germany, the Marsh Fritillary (Euphydryas aurinia) has become extinct in Schleswig-Holstein due to a habitat aggravation. The project LIFE-Aurinia aims to reestablish the butterfly which is protected Europe-wide and to ensure its survival. For this purpose, endangered habitats like heath land, wet grassland and neglected grassland are reactivated and extended. Many other endangered species benefit from this structural diversity.
The project is now almost halfway in the run-time of the project (09/2010-12/2018). It is in the realization period of measures and in the beginning of the reestablishment of the butterfly.
The main aims of the project are
• Expansion and reestablishment of the habitat types species-rich humid grassland, mat grassland, flower-rich heathlands and wet heathlands. 50 hectares of the mentioned habitat types of the Habitats Directive are to be developed as potentially suitable habitats for the Marsh Fritillary.
Additionally, there is the conversion of 16 hectares of spruce plantations into suitable habitats for the E. aurinia. As a precondition for the survival of the Marsh Fritillary, 14.4 hectares of high-quality caterpillar forage areas and areas with huge nectar plant sources are to be created. Supportingly, former agricultural areas are to change into 50 hectares species-rich grassland.
• Stabilization of endangered plants, above all nectar and food plants of the Marsh Fritillary like devil´s bit (Succisa pratensis), arnica (Arnica montana) and Scorzonera (Scorzonera humilis). These plants are to be planted and/or spread in huge numbers to the sites. Altogether; 80,000 perennials are to be planted and additionally seed is to be sowed.
• Reestablishment of the Marsh Fritillary after improving the habitats: Reintroduction of E. aurinia at at least 4 sites out of the 8 project sites. Establishment of 8 sub-populations with each of 100 individuals in the 4 sites to minimize the risk of extinction.
• The improvement of the habitats is to be achieved by a set of proved and new nature conservation methods. The new methods with the proved and tested techniques are used in other federal states but not that much in Schleswig-Holstein. These methods are controlled burning, hay transfer, shrub management by cutting and goat grazing, top soil removal or the establishment of endangered plants on a large scale as mentioned before.
• Involve military sites and establish a cooperation with military site managers to improve nutrient-poor areas for species with high demands.
The public “Stiftung Naturschutz Schleswig-Holstein” is the project executing organization and coordinating beneficiary. There are no other associated beneficiaries or co-financers in this project.