Restoration of Dune Habitats along the Danish West Coast

Restoration of a threatenend habitat

In Denmark and in the rest of Europe dunes and coastal dune heathlands are considered to be threatened and vulnerable habitats.

The first monitoring of the Danish coastal priority habitats has shown that the conservation status is not favourable.

11 Sites of Community Interest covering a project site surface of more than 24.000 ha within the Natura2000 network are included in this project.

The sites are mainly selected for the priority habitat types fixed grey dunes (2130*) and decalcified fixed dunes with Empetrum nigrum (2140*).

LIFE is a financial instrument aimed at nature conservation within the European Union.

28. February 2007

Just before the end of 2006, the EU Commission approved the final technical report and the final fiancial report for the project. Not all expenses were considered eligible for co-financing, but all in all the accounts look fine. The project has managed more hectares than planned at a lower expense than budgeted for. The project is thus now completely finalised.

The final, technical report (in English) can be found on the Danish main site in a revised version, following the comments form the EU Commission.

A total of 21 annexes are attached to the report. Many of these are already accessible on this homepage.

Of the remaining annexes, the following are of particular interest:

  • Annex A: Maps of project areas, including targets and final results.
  • Annex B: Photos of restoration of natural hydrology on Lyngbos Hede
  • Annex C: Maps of other project areas where natural hydrology was restored
  • Annex K: Photos (before and after) from all project areas (2 documents)
  • Annex L: After-LIFE Conservation Plan (in English)

They can be found on the Danish version of the site

19 September 2006

The recommendations given in the intensive and extensive monitoring reports have been compiled in a small leaflet. The Danish version has been distributed to all project participants and other interested parties. It can be used in the daily work by fieldworkers and administrators alike.

21 February 2006

As an integrated part of the project, the Danish Environmental Research Institute and University of Copenhagen conducted monitoring of the development of the dune heath areas and the effects of the management measures undertaken with regard to the conservation status of the nature type. Both institutions have prepared a monitoring report which can be found the Danish main site

15 November 2005

During the project, various measures were taken to improve the living conditions for amphibians on the dune heaths. These efforts have now been evaluated, and a strategic plan has been developed for continuing the efforts over the coming 20 years. The most remarkable result is that two of the new ponds have already been successfully colonised by Natterjack toad.

11 November 2005

All LIFE-Nature projects are obliged to produce a layman's report. The report for the dune heath project is now ready, and can be found here: (link). It is written in Danish as well as in English.

1 November 2005

Today is the official end date of the project. During the coming months, the final reporting to the EU Commission will be prepared, and various partial reports will be made available on the website

16 september 2003

An international workshop was held 9-11 September 2003, with 40 participants from United Kingdom, Holland, Latvia, Germany and Denmark.


Objectives of the project

Three general threats are identified as follows:

  1. Invasion of non-native species, especially Mountain Pine (Pinus mugo) and Lodgepole Pine (Pinus contórta).
  2. Lack of natural dynamic processes (over-stabilisation of dunes).
  3. Ammonium deposition / eutrophication.

The threat from overgrowth is within the framework of this project categorised in five degrees (from over-stabilized dunes to different percentage of tree cover). Tree growth may change the dune heathland ecosystem completely, due to the shadowing effect of the canopy and forest induced changes of nutrient circulation and microclimate.

Further site specific threats concerning drainage, pressure from tourism, and barriers to habitat management due to land ownership are identified.

The overall objective of the project is to regain a more favourable conservation status of the Danish dune habitats. The 11 sites represent 65 % of total sand dunes FFH resource in Denmark.

The main objectives of the project are:

  • Restoration of 264 ha of dune heath habitats, i.e. conversion (clearing) of non-indigenous conifer forest to priority habitat types fixed coastal dunes with herbaceous vegetation (‘grey dunes’) (2130*) and decalcified fixed dunes with Empetrum nigrum (2140*). Overgrowth degree IV-V.
  • Clearing of 542 ha with dense overgrowth. Overgrowth degree III.
  • Removal of tree encroachment on 3452 ha. Overgrowth degree II.
  • Management activities on more than 2800 ha in order to deal with threats of nutrient enrichment and lack of natural dynamic processes. Overgrowth degree I.
  • Restoration of natural hydrology (hydrology project on Lyngbo Hede and closing of drainage trenches on Fanø (site 78) and dune heath at Stenbjerg, Thy (site 184))
  • Perform land swaps concerning roughly 36 ha in order to remove barriers to habitat management due to land ownership on Rømø
  • To secure viable populations of primarily Bufo calamita and Rana arvalis along the Danish west coast in the project area containing decalcified fixed dunes with mosaic of humid dune slacks

More information – in English


Go back to the main site here (in Danish)


Hanne Stadsgaard Jensen
Project manager 
Naturstyrelsen Thy
Søholtvej 6
DK-7700 Thisted


Phone: +45 97 97 70 88