Restoration of Meadow Bird Habitats (REMAB)

The Life funded project will enhance meadow bird habitats at 4 sites in Denmark. Targeted species are Ruff and Dunlin.

The meadow birds are among the most threatened bird species in Denmark. They have suffered from serious decline since the 1970ties. For Dunlin (only one fourth of the breeding sites remain in Denmark and for Ruff (Philomachus pugnax) only one seventh of the breeding sites remain. The Danish Ministry of Environment has adopted a national action plan for meadow birds covering 25 Special Protection Areas. Implementation of the plan has taken place at all sites. Four of the most important sites with special need for nature restoration were selected for the EU LIFE Nature project "Restoration of Meadow Bird Habitats (REMAB)". The Danish Forest and Nature Agency embarked the project in collaboration with Fugleværnsfonden (the Danish Ornithological Association) and supported by the EU LIFE Nature Fond. The project ran from 2006-2009.

Ruff ( Philomachus pugnax )
Photo. Peter Bundgaard

Dunlin ( Calidris alpina schinzii )
Photo Peter Bundgaard


The overall project objective was to restore and maintain a favourable conservation status of habitats of Calidris alpina schinzii and Philomachus pugnax at four key sites in Denmark. The project had significantly contributed to the national action plan for threatened meadow birds covering Calidris alpina schinzii and Philomachus pugnax .

Secondly the objective was to restore favourable conservation status for associated habitat types and habitats (1330 Atlantic salt meadows, 3140 Hard oligo-mesotrophic waters with benthic vegetation of Chara spp. ) and habitats of Botaurus stellaris , Chlidonias niger and Porzana porzana .

Actions and means involved

The project included activities to restore suitable water levels for meadow birds, to clear trees, scrubs and reeds and to ensure a proper grazing regime on the meadows.

Hydrology was restored to counteract previous draining efforts by establishment of weirs and other efforts to ensure a suitable water level for meadow birds. Areas overgrown with trees, bushes or reed was cleared by machinery. Furthermore future proper management was facilitated by establishment of a Grazing Society at one site and development of a management plan at another site.

The project was implemented following a participatory approach through cooperation with landowners. The results of the project was disseminated to a wider audience through a number of means including a seminar for nature managers from Denmark and seven other European countries.


  • Restoration of the hydrology of 1900 ha of meadow bird habitat incl. 900 ha of Atlantic salt meadows
  • Clearing of 220 ha trees and 18 ha reeds
  • Enhancement of breeding and feeding habitat of Botaurus stellaris and Chlidonias niger.
  • Future management enabled on 900 ha of meadow bird habitat by establishment of a Grazing society and by the development of a management plan.
  • Reduced predation by foxes on meadow birds at two project sites by establishment of 25 artificial fox dens and a fox secure bridge.
  • Enhance possibilities to experience meadow birds by establishing 5 km path and a bird observation platform at the project site Amager close to Copenhagen.
  • Sharing best practice experiences for meadow bird habitat management at a seminar for about 80 nature managers.
  • Contribution to obtain favourable conservation status for 975 ha Hard oligo-mesotrophic waters with benthic vegetation of Chara spp.

REMAB has succeded in improving conditions for the dunlin and the ruff in the western Vejler (an area of reed beds, meadows, lakes and wetland), Harboøre Tange, Nyord and Vestamager which are four of Denmark's most important breeding grounds for meadow birds. The project recreated salt meadows and improved the environment of chalky lakes and pools in the focus areas. It also contributed to improve conditions in the western Vejler for three threatened species, the great bittern (Botaurus stellaris) , black tern (Chlidonas niger) and the spotted crake (Porzana Porzana) .

Laymans Report

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Project reports

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Life This project is co-funded by LIFE.

LIFE Nature is an EU programme aiming to conserve natural habitats and the wild fauna and flora of European Union interest, according to the Birds and Habitats directives, thus supporting implementation of the European Union's nature conservation policy and the Natura 2000 Network.

Natura 2000 Natura 2000 is the Sites of Community Importance designated according to the Habitats Directive and the Special Protection Areas designated according to the Birds Directive. The Danish Ramsar Sites are all parts of the Special Protection Areas.