Restoration of dry grasslands in Denmark

The Dry Grasslands are considered threatened and vulnerable habitat types. Many rare and endangered plant- and animal species belong to the dry grasslands, and conserving these habitats are therefore of great importance.

The EU is co-financing a project through the Life-Nature programme, which aims to increase the area of grasslands and to improve the conditions of existing grasslands in Denmark .

Eleven Sites of Community importance, covering an area of more than 4330 ha are included in this project ( see map ).

These areas have been selected with priority to the three grassland habitat types Xeric sand calcareous grassland (6120*), Semi-natural dry grassland and scrubland facies on calcareous substrates (6210*) and Nardus grasslands on siliceous substrates (6230*). In addition the areas have been selected to cover most of the geographic range of the habitat types in Denmark .

The habitat types 6120 and 6230 are high priority habitats for the EU in terms of protection. Habitat type 6210 is also a priority habitat if it is an important orchid location. Habitat types prioritized by the EU are marked *.

Habitat type 6120. Photo: Rasmus Ejrnæs, DMU.
Habitat type 6120

Habitat type 6210. Photo: Bert Wirklund.
Habitat type 6210

Habitat type 6230. Photo: Rasmus Ejrnæs, DMU.
Habitat type 6230


Three general threats to the dry grasslands are identified as follows:

  • Lack of grazing or inappropriate grazing. This leads to changes in the microclimate and thus a change in the characteristic vegetation and thus the structure and function of the habitat type.
  • Fragmentation of the areas of grassland. This leads to isolation and local extinction of key species.
  • Overgrowth with bushes and trees changing the structure and function of the ecosystem.


  • Clearing of smaller plantations on former dry grassland.
  • Restoration by clearing of various degrees of overgrowth with bushes and trees.
  • Establishment or continuation of appropriate grazing regimes.
  • Public awareness concerning the values of dry grasslands for conservation of biodiversity and the role of NATURA 2000. Information boards will be erected at project sites, leaflets distributed, guided tours, public meetings and a web-site.
  • Exchange of experience and capacity building through seminars and reports of all professional staff in Denmark involved in management of dry grasslands.

Main Objectives

  • Conversion of 65 ha of plantations on former dry grassland habitat types. This will contribute significantly to reducing the fragmentation of dry grasslands.
  • Restoration of 180 ha of dry grassland habitat types either from conversion of plantations, arable land or other areas.
  • Clearing of 1065 ha overgrown with bushes and trees.
  • Establishment or securing appropriate grazing on 1780 ha . This includes the introduction of grazing on 600 ha .
  • Re-introduction of the butterfly Maculinea arion at one subsite observing the LIFE re-introduction principles.

Project Sites

Map of the project sites.
The general location of the project sites

For more information on the project sites in english, see the subsections of Final Revised Proposal - Restoration of Dry Grasslands in Denmark

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 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 in Special Protection Areas.


Forest and Nature Agency, Kronjylland
Vasevej 7, Fussingø
8920 Randers NV
Phone (+45) 86 45 45 00
Fax (+45) 86 45 40 36
Email: Obfuscated Email