De Levende Natuur nummer 6 van 2014 (English summary)


80 Jaar De Hoge Veluwe


DLN 2014-6

Historical-ecological interrelations between landscape history and actual vegetation of the National Park De Hoge Veluwe Historical-ecological interrelations between landscape history and actual vegetation of the National Park De Hoge Veluwe

Th. Spek, R.J. Bijlsma, J. Bokdam, D. van Dam & N. Visser

On first sight the National Park De Hoge Veluwe seems to have a landscape that is predominantly natural. On second sight, however, this park contains a large number of archaeological, historical-geographical and architectural phenomena that have a profound influence on flora and fauna until today. The paper firstly gives an overview of the long term history of human influence in the National Park. Secondly, it elaborates three examples of strong interrelations between cultural history, soil, vegetation, flora and fauna: 1. Arable weed communities on historical fields; 2. Coppice woods and shrub vegetations on former land dunes of sand blowings; 3. Taxi lanes of the former World War II German airfield. A good knowledge of historical-ecological interrelations provides important tools and constraints for future management strategies which combine biodiversity and heritage objectives.

The conservation value of the flora and vegetation of The Hoge Veluwe National Park

R.J. Bijlsma, J. Bokdam, D. van Dam & N. Visser

The National Park is a drift sand landscape as a whole. About 25% of its area consists ofhabitat types related to active drift sand, inland dunes and corresponding heaths (H2310, H2330) which represent a significant international value. European dry heaths (H4030) are rare, restricted to a small area of push moraine soil types. The National Park is famous for its species-rich mat-grass swards (H6230) which harbour viable populations of the very rare Carex ericetorum and Scorzonera humilis. The National Park comprises a small but important area of wet heaths (H4010) and bogs associated with heathland pools (in the Netherlands included in H7110). The area of old acidophilous oak and beech forests is disproportionately small compared to the overall Veluwe site and consists mainly of old oak forests (H9190). The distribution pattern of ancient woodland vascular plant species corresponds rather well with woodland habitat types.The areas of the habitat types of these three landscapes overlap for only 20-40% with the distribution (known with GPS accuracy) of their typical species, used to determine the conservation status of the habitat types. The distribution of all 71 red-listed species and typical species of vascular plants in the National Park together overlaps for only 40% with Natura 2000 habitat types (70% when Molinia-dominated, non-qualifying heathland is included). Moreover, some areas of high ecological value don’t fit into the Natura 2000 framework. Old, extensive agricultural fields represent another ecological value not covered by Natura 2000. Recent research in heathland soils demonstrate serious mineral deficiencies due to acidification and nitrogen deposition. Extensive agricultural fields, once inextricably connected with heathland landscapes in northwestern Europe, can provide the necessary intermediate productivity, thereby supporting or even restoring the ecological value of habitat types. In conclusion, we emphasize the importance of considering values of nature resulted from features of regional geomorphology and historical land use, besides nature already valued at the European and national level.

The Hoge Veluwe National Park and its wetlands: vision, planning and realisation

Until recently, little was known about the wetlands of The Hoge Veluwe National Park. Ground- and surface water dependent plant communities are related to sites with a perched groundwater table as a consequence of stagnative soil layers. On sites with a rather thin sand layer above stagnative soil layers species-poor Molinia grasslands occur, whereas wet heathlands and moorland pools occur at sites with a rather thick sand layer. Locally, wet heathlands and bog vegetation have degraded due to afforestation with coniferous trees, digging of ditches and road construction on dams through gullies. The policy of The Park is to rehabilitate water dependent nature. Therefore, restoration measures were taken recently. Now, perched groundwater seeps up and stagnates again in depressions, whereas in gullies water can run off superficially once more. On the longer term, we believe that wet heathlands and bog communities will profit

The forests of The Hoge Veluwe National Park

J. den Ouden

This article briefly discusses 100 years of forest management in The Hoge Veluwe National Park. From the onset of The Park, forest management goals involved the creation of seminatural habitat for large game animals, an aesthetic environment, and a basis for sustainable wood harvest. This combination of goals proved difficult to meet. The population sizes of large herbivores, in particular Red deer (Cervus elaphus) and Roe deer (Capreolus capreolus), that were maintained in the Park put large pressure on the regeneration of broadleaved tree species. Unless protective fencing is erected, many broadleaved species like Rowan (Sorbus aucuparia) and Oak (Quercus robur) fail to regenerate, and tree recruitment is ultimately dominated by conifers. Current large herbivore population sizes restrict natural tree regeneration. Throughout the history of The Park, forest management has aimed at the development of mixed forest, with a large proportion of broadleaved species. The strategy was to introduce broadleaved species under the canopy of first generation Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris). Deer browsing prevented this, only allowing a small proportion of Silver birch (Betula pendula).The site productivity is low, with an average overall increment of approximately 5 m3 ha per year. Wood is harvested in most of the forest area, except for the forests with high conservation values. Approximately 70% of the annual increment is harvested. It is not known whether this harvest level is sustainable in the long term, considering the removal of nutrients from an inherently nutrient poor site.

From a park for hunting to hunting for The National Park De Hoge Veluwe

L. Hoedemaker, G.J. Spek & F. Ohl

This article provides a historical overview of the changing role of hunting in The National Park De Hoge Veluwe, with additional details on the technical, ecological and ethical aspects. Hunting has always been a part of the Park. However, the role hunting plays in The Park and vice versa has changed markedly in the last century: in the 1930’s The Park was intended as a hunting premises for mr. Kroller, so the park facilitated the hunt. Nowadays, hunting is an essential tool in achieving the recreational and ecological purposes of the Park.

Wildlife migration and The Hoge Veluwe National Park: a monitoring project

G.W.T.A. Groot Bruinderink, D.R. Lammertsma, J.R.K. Leidekker, J. den Ouden, Y. Liefting & P.A. Jansen

The 5400 ha Hoge Veluwe National Park is situated in the middle of the Veluwe area, a 100.000 ha natural area in the central part of The Netherlands. In 2013 two passages for Red deer, Fallow deer, Roe deer and Wild boar were constructed between the National Park on the one side and large bordering natural areas on the other. These new passages may lead to changes in ungulate population size and structure, and alterations in habitat use of these species within the National Park. Therefore, the following consequences of opening the fences are monitored, within the boundaries of the National Park:

the intensity of use of the passages in the fence
the change of size and structure of ungulate populations
changes in habitat use by ungulates
changes in the establishment, survival and growth of tree species
changes in management efforts
changes of the observability of animals for the public
changes in the behavior of the Red deer, especially in response to Fallow deer immigration
changes in populations of characteristic plant and animal species in valuable habitats.

The Black grouse re-introduction program in the Hoge Veluwe National Park

J.R.K. Leidekker

In the 1980’s, the Black grouse (Lyrurus tetrix) disappeared from the Hoge Veluwe National Park, as well as other areas in The Netherlands. As a result, the Park has committed itself, over a long period of time, to restore the quality of heathland vegetation in order to provide a sustainable habitat for the re-introduction of Black grouse.

In preparation for the re-introduction of Black grouse in the Park, much research has been done. In 2003, the Smit report presented a range of information, all of which aimed to increase the odds of creating a successful re-introduction program. In contrast to previous failed programs, the Park decided to commit to the program for a minimum of 10 years, in which at least 30 birds per year would be released into the wild.

The first birds were released from one fixed ‘release cage’ in 2007. A ‘hard release’ technique was used, in the months of September/October. As it turned out, Goshawks proved to be successful predators of the Black grouse. In fact, 38% of the Black grouse initially released were killed by predators.

By 2011, the Bos et al. report concluded that, given the presence of birds discovered alive (2-5%), the habitat was strong enough to allow the Black grouse to survive the winter.

In 2011, the ‘hard release’ method made way for ‘soft release’. In 2012, two ‘soft release’ cages were built. In addition, an experiment was begun by planting new grain fields mixed with herbs. The fields attracted many insects and other birds which lead to the decision to plant between 15-20 new fields.

In 2012, the Park learned new methods for Black grouse re-introduction. The main result of this new knowledge was the Park’s decision to release birds just before breeding season. The monitoring of experiments continues to be an integral part of the success of the Black grouse release program. Three methods have been used: counts, notation of sightings and fitting animals with radio transmitters.

Five years after the start of the program, a mid term review was done by Black grouse expert Dave Baines. He concluded that the Park has successfully bred and released a large number of Black grouse. He also concluded that predators, especially Goshawks, are a great danger to Black grouse and that methodology and timing are critical to a successful release, as well as that fitting birds with GPS transmitters is a good idea. Due to the positive results of the breeding and release program, it has been decided to continue with a second period of 10 years.

Three decades of monitoring butterflies and breeding birds in The Hoge Veluwe National Park

M.F. Wallis de Vries & G.M. Sanders

The Hoge Veluwe National Park is a biodiversity hotspot for heathland fauna. Butterflymonitoring started already in 1982 in the Park. This paper reports the trends in the abundance of characteristic species and compares them with national trends. In addition, the main trends in important breeding birds are discussed. The Park hosts particularly good populations of species associated with species-rich Nardus-grasslands, such as Pyrgus malvae, Lycaena tityrus, Thymelicus sylvestris, Hesperia comma and Argynnis aglaja. 

Three species – Argynnis niobe, Coenonympha arcania and Hipparchia statilinus – have disappeared from The Park. Butterfly densities were generally higher in the 1980s. A. niobe used to be more numerous than A. aglaja, but this was reversed after 1998, which is attributed to microclimatic cooling due to grass encroachment. After 1990, butterfly abundance peaked in 2002 and was dramatically low in 2007. On average, the trend is slightly better than elsewhere in the country, in particular for P. malvae, Melitaea athalia, Maniola jurtina and A. aglaja. For 4 out of 8 examined breeding bird species, trends in the Park were similar to the national trends, although the increase of Nightjar (Caprimulgus europeus) and Stonechat (Saxicola rubicola) is higher than the national average. The Wheatear (Oenanthe oenanthe) declined more in The Park than in coastal populations. In contrast, Skylark (Alauda arvensis) and Meadow pipit (Anthus pratensis) are stable in The Park, whereas the national trend shows a long-term decline. Drivers for the trends are discussed in the context of nitrogen deposition, climate change and management.

Hoge Veluwe National Park: A modern company with history; Recreation, nature management and financial independence Hoge Veluwe National Park: A modern company with history; Recreation, naturemanagement and financial independence

M.M. Kokke & H. Beukhof

Hoge Veluwe National Park has a unique story. Its creation 80 years ago was the result of the vision of two unforgettable individuals: Anton and Helene Kröller-Müller. The Park’s current mission is a direct consequence of the couple’s vision: to inspire visitors by offering a sustainable, contemporary, combination of landscape, art, architecture and history. The Park continually invests in the unique trinity of maintenance, improvement and innovation. Every year roughly 500,000 paying customers visit the Park. Approximately 50% of these customers also visit the Kröller-Müller Museum, the visitors center and the Museon. In addition, 30,000 people visit the St. Hubertus Hunting Lodge every year. The Park also creates income by renting buildings and land. The Park does make use of Governmental subsidies for investment in nature recovery programs. Zoning is one of the essential methods used by Park management to combine the ‘core business’ activities of nature management and recreation. The Hoge Veluwe uses the American model of zoning (fig. 2).

The Park is divided into three zones: busy, moderately busy and quiet. One of the Park’s greatest strengths is the ‘White Bike’ program. The white bikes are made available for all visitors to use free of charge. The combination of nature and visitor management ensures that the Park enjoys financial independence and a reputation as one of the biggest recreational attractions in the Veluwe area. In order to maintain this position, Park management understands the necessity of continuous innovation. As a result, the Park is planning major renovations for the central area. The museums will continue to provide inspiring expositions. Everything will be done to keep the Hoge Veluwe a world class, modern park.