Well-cared for variety

© Walter Venne
A place to breathe freely and deeply: the expansive, sandy heathlands of the Senne. © Walter Venne

At the foot of the Teutoburg Forest a brilliant mosaic meets the eye: broadleaf and conifer woods, fens, heath, dry grasslands, brooks, ponds, meadows and pasture. This is the sandy heath country of the Senne. The ancient cultured landscape developed largely as a result of grazing methods which began as early as the Neolithic period (around 3 500 B.C.) and which changed the country dramatically: where previously extensive forests had been the dominant feature, with the advent of heathland sheep farming, now largely lost, extensive areas of heathland soon prevailed.

A precious habitat under threat
From the middle of the 19th century bit by bit the areas were reforested and open heathland was  gradually transformed back into a woodland landscape. With the retreat of the heath its characteristic animals and plants grew rarer. Today for instance Maiden Pink, Hairy Greenweed, the Sand Lizard and many insect species, such as the Small Emperor Moth, are on the Red List.

Using it to protect it
The original heathland only remains on a few sites. In the Senne the establishment of a military training area 100 years ago was of benefit for the retention of heathland. Military use ensured that the area remained open land. Outside the training area there are comparatively few areas of heathland left. EuroNatur has been supporting the Paderborn-Senne Biological Station for many years now in the care and preservation of this valuable heritage with its wealth of species.

How is EuroNatur supporting the Paderborn-Senne Biological Station?

  • The “Senner horses in the wild” project: The Senner horses, not wild horses but an old and very resistant breed, live from May to the end of November on the pastures in Moosheide Nature Reserve and find their own food there, maintaining it as open land in the process.
  • Professional care for the Nature Reserve: for instance over collecting data on flora and fauna of protected areas, establishing observation areas to examine changes in the landscape, guided tours and measures for general management and development.
  • Public outreach: this invoves among other things maintaining the internet presence where visitors can find information about the Senne; producing guides to nature exploration experiences, hiking maps and further information material as well as giving talks on the region.


What we have so far been able to achieve  – a selection of our successes:

  • Through the range of nature conservation measures we were able to maintain or where necessary create important areas of refuge for many threatened animal and plant species .
  • The Senner horse have been maintaining the dry grasslands as open country  for the last ten years. In the course of grazing little gaps in the grass surface are created leaving miniature spaces room for pioneer plants such as Morison's Spurry and also for many species of insect living in the soil. Beyond that the project helps to secure the survival of a rare horse breed.
  • Reintroducing nomadic sheep herding to the region: To the south of Bielefeld a herd of sheep on the move is grazing and making sure the heathland there is kept free of shrubs.
  • The Nature Reserve measures in the Senne are clearly appreciated by the local population.

Partner: Paderborn – Senne Biological Station

Sponsors: Gelsenwasser AG, Bielefeld City Utilities GmbH,  Wetlands Foundation for Froggy & Friends, EuroNatur donors



Do you want to help?


Future needs nature. EuroNatur cares for it. Please use your possibilities to help. With your donation you will make an effective contribution to a more livable environment.


Petition to save Europe's last virgin forests

The fourth episode of the investigative documentary series "Out of Control" shows dramatic destruction in the Romanian Calimani National Park. To...

Preserving the European Green Belt as Green Infrastructure

More than 100 representatives of 24 European countries gather from 15 to 19 October at the World Heritage Site Wartburg for the 10th Pan-European...

Three nations meet on a peak

In the context of the European Green Belt Days 2018, more than 50 people went hiking in the mountains. Their destination was the Three Countries Peak...

Swiss river conservationist receives EuroNatur Award 2018

++ EuroNatur Award 2018 goes to Roberto Epple ++ Europe-wide launch of online campaign #ProtectWater on the 9th of October ++

25 years of photo competition „Europe`s Natural Treasures“

++ EuroNatur presents highlights of the photo competition „Europe's Natural Treasures“ in a large size calendar ++ photo exhibition in National Park...

First European Rivers Summit held in Sarajevo

++ 250 people attend Summit to save Europe’s rivers and stop the damming ++ Participants call upon EU and Heads of State to stop funding hydropower ++...

Music for living rivers and against dams

Hundreds join the Concert for Balkan Rivers in Sarajevo. Artists sing to stop the hydropower tsunami on the Balkans.


Exemplary nature conservation at the European Green Belt

‘Green and vital’ is the motto of the community of Peja in Western Kosovo. And that’s not hot air at all. Peja has recently been decorated as ‘Model...

Scandalous deforestation in Romania revealed

The third episode of the investigative documentary series "Out of Control" reveals that the destruction of forests in the Romanian Cheile...

Another victory for the “Brave Women of Kruščica”

++ Women block bridge in Bosnia-Herzegovina for over a year to protect their river ++ New attempt by the investor to vacate the bridge has been...

Slovenian section of the Mur river becomes a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve

Good news for Central Europe's largest river landscape: UNESCO has acknowledged 29,000 hectares of floodplain of the Slovenian Mur river as a...

Illegal construction works in Valbona-National Park are still going on

Charade of Justice in Albania: Different courts mutually cancel their decisions in the case of the planned power plant Dragobia. The suffering ones...

Re-introduction of Cinereous Vultures in Bulgaria

Three young cinereous vultures are about to be released in the wild. In the eastern part of the Balkan range, our partners of Green Balkans and Fund...

Nature photo safari

Sunbathing seals, ruffs in combative mood and a delicate coming-together of common blue butterflies: 892 nature enthusiasts set out on a photographic...

Award for a River Conservationist with Passion

++ 2018 EuroNatur Award goes to Roberto Epple ++ Founding President of the European Rivers Network has devoted himself for decades to the wild rivers...

By using our services, you agree that we use cookies. Data protection