Wood pastures in the Netherlands
Dutch wood pastures are exciting places because their management is helped by large grazers, such as cattle, deer and horses and also geese. Together they help increase biodiversity and restore their all important ecological balance. They are therefore good examples for people to experience and learn from.
An area along the river Waal, the Gelderse Poort, was amongst the first where large grazing animals were purposely used to manage the flood plains of this important river. The experiences gained here inform the management strategies of several other semi-natural areas in Holland, of which the Oostvaardersplassen is the most notable, but here they have gone a step further as they now aim to create conditions where people don't have to interfere so that the animals can be left to express their natural behaviour. Read a report about Natural processes in the Oostvaardersplassen, ICMO report 2 if you're interested to have more details of what is involved with this kind of 'hands off' management for the Oostvaardersplassen.
The experiences gained with Dutch wood pastures clearly help to change management strategies for many other wood pastures throughout Europe. As a result Europeans are more aware of the importance of wood pastures; through their efforts more wood pastures are now recognised, protected and new ones created.
Woodland Inspirations take British people to see Dutch wood pastures
Woodland Inspirations lead trips to the Netherlands for farmer practitioners and wood pasture advisers to see Dutch wood pastures themselves. The itinerary includes the Gelderse Poort - a multi objective site, the Oostvaardersplassen with a non-intervention policy and Anloo - where stock are used to manage wood pastures important for conservation.
Woodland Inspirations lend a helping hand in expanding the Oostvaardersplassen
The Dutch Staatsbosbeheer proposes to create a wildlife corridor so that animals can travel freely from the Oostvaardersplassen to the Horsterwold and vice versa. Woodland Inspirations assessed this proposal on the ecological effects for both sites and in doing so informed Staatsbosbeheer's wood pasture management strategy.