Diemarden Demonstration Site (Germany)The PARTRIDGE Demonstration Site ‘Diemarden’ is about 500 hectares. The area is situated at the southern border of the university town Göttingen
The demonstration site is characterized by a hilly landscape. It is well structured by hedgerows, grassy paths, older flower blocks and fallow land.
Since the start of the PARTRIDGE project, numerous measures to improve habitat suitability have been introduced. Those include flower blocks, hedgerows, and partridge-friendly mowing regimes on fallow land. These new conservation measures cover about 8 % of the demonstration site area. Six farmers in the area are managing those measures to create a grey partridge-friendly landscape. The flower blocks always include one part, which is sown in the recent year and one part with vegetation of the previous year. A special mixture of annual and perennial plant species is sown on these fields to create a diverse habitat. The old growth of the previous year is perfect for breeding as it provides cover and hides the nest from predators. In the freshly sown part, grey partridges can find easily accessible food to raise their young in summer are interchanged every year. As of 2020, there are 24 plots and strips sown with the PARTRIDGE flower mix in this fashion, covering around 36 hectares.
At the end of 2019, a local dairy farmer with the help of volunteers and PARTRIDGE, planted 1000 m of hedgerows in the demonstration site. The planted species are low growing, eg. dog rose, privet, bramble and raspberry. This is crucial for grey partridges as high hedges act as perches for predators like goshawks or carrion crows.
All these conservation measures also help other farmland species such as brown hares, other farmland bird species and insects. Since the project began, the number of brown hares increased from 26 in 2017 to 38 in 2020 in the Diemarden demonstration site.
Currently, we are discussing with the administration of the district of Göttingen how to finance and preserve the conservation measures installed by PARTRIDGE beyond the project end in 2023. This will ensure the sustainability of the efforts of farmers, hunters and conservationists to protect the grey partridge in the Diemarden demonstration site for the long-term.
In 2004, the department of Conservation Biology at the University of Göttingen and the NGO ‘Biologische Schutzgemeinschaft e.V.’ started a large-scale partridge conservation project across the whole district of Göttingen (about 1.000 km²), by optimizing the agri-environment scheme measure of flower strips for partridges.
The project demonstration site was part of this study and since 2006, partridge counts have been carried out and radio-tagging of the birds was started in 2009. To improve the quality of the habitat, partridge-friendly flower strips were introduced in 2005.
For further details, please contact:
Dr. Eckhard Gottschalk (Georg-August-University of Göttingen)
Phone: +49 551 3925637
Useful links: www.rebhuhnschutzprojekt.de