LFA für Feldherpetologie und Ichthyofaunistik

LIFE AMPHIKULT 350 Ponds for Lower Saxony

Welcome to the website of the LIFEproject AMPFHIKULT which is being carried out by Lower Saxony's Nature and Biodiversity Conservation Union (NABU). We provide information on the project's background, the measures to be taken as well as news updates.

AMPHIKULT als Vorbild (no translation available at the moment)

April 2012

Besuch der Stiftung für Ornithologie und Naturschutz


Volker Tiemeyer, Stiftung für Ornithologie und Naturschutz (l) u.Dr. Markus Richter, Projektleiter LIFE+AMPHIKULT

Eine Maßnahmenfläche des Projektes AMPHIKULT besichtigten Vertreter der Stiftung für Ornithologie und Naturschutz aus Melle im Landkreis Osnabrück. Die Stiftung plant in der Else-Hase-Niederung bei Melle ein Naturschutzprojekt, von dem auch die Amphibien profitieren sollen und nahm das Angebot von Dr. Markus Richter, Projektleiter von AMPHIKULT beim NABU Niedersachsen, zur Besichtigung einer Maßnahmenfläche gerne an.

AMPHIKULT’s efforts show first successes

March 2012

Moor frogs settle in new ponds

Mating Moor frogs

Moor frogs settle in new ponds

The amphibian conservation project LIFE AMPHIKULT of NABU Niedersachsen, which has been in progress for a little over two years, is now bearing fruit. Numerous Moor frogs were observed reproducing at newly created water bodies.

The Moor frog is one of the target species of the AMPHIKULT project. The species habitually settles in habitats with a high ground water level and has suffered a severe population decline nationwide for many years. During the course of the project, about 80 new spawning grounds have been created to support the reproduction success of the Moor frog, among others. While surveying the nature reserve Aschener Moor in the Diepholz district, project manager Dr. Markus Richter was able to establish that more than a hundred Moor frogs had visited two of the new water bodies for reproduction. Male Moor frogs made use of the warm and sunny weather to attract the females with their mating calls. These calls reveal the presence of the otherwise rather shy animals. After mating, the females deposit their eggs in spawn clumbs the size of a human fist. Altogether, Richter counted more than a hundred spawn clumbs in various locations. Thus, this local Moor frog population already ranks as one of the more significant in the region.

Stronghold of the European tree frog

February 2012

Population survey documents importance of the Diepholz district for this endangered amphibian species

More than a hundred water bodies populated by the European tree frog classify the Diepholz district as one of Lower Saxony's core areas for this rare amphibian species. This is one of the results of a population survey conducted by Gunnar Muegge of Sulingen and Dr. Markus Richter of the LIFE+ AMPHIKULT project of Nabu Niedersachsen. The amphibian experts spent numerous mild spring nights over the past two years listening for the calls of the male tree frogs in the district and bordering areas. The males try to attract females by their calling, which allows experts to deduce the number of frogs at a particular pond. There are about 1100 male tree frogs in the district as a whole. The good news: about 10 years ago, G. Muegge and his peers had once before counted the tree frogs of the Diepholz district and also came up with a little over a thousand. The population of the European tree frog has thus remained stable over the past decade. This is a remarkable result considering the species' decreasing population numbers in the rest of Central Europe. The positive population situation is owing to the extensive protective measures taken on behalf of the European tree frog and its spawning grounds in the Diepholz district. Already since 1984, the Naturschutz foundation in the Diepholz district began to tend to local water bodies by removing waste and sludge and, time and again, also created new water bodies. In the Duemmer area, the Naturschutzring Duemmer has been actively involved for several years with their European tree frog project. Recently NABU Niedersachsen has also been making an effort to protect the European tree frog and other species with their EU-funded LIFE-AMPHIKULT project. "The new population survey is an important planning basis for our project and I am extremely grateful for the extensive voluntary dedication of Gunnar Muegge", according to AMPHIKULT project manager Richter. Won over by the high quality of the survey, the editorial staff of a recognised professional journal agreed to print the results in their next issue.

Mapping the European tree frog in the Diepholz district

Mapping the European tree frog in the Diepholz district

Gunnar Mügge (l.) and Dr. Markus Richter

Forty-nine new ponds completed – Let the rain begin!

December 2011


Fourty-nine new ponds completed

November of 2011 was the driest November on record. There was practically no precipitation at all. "The long drought was very convenient for us", states Dr. Markus Richter, project manager of AMPHIKULT, reviewing the last few weeks. Wet conditions are the major impediment to the project’s excavation operations. This is true especially this year as numerous water bodies were created on bog soil. "Had it rained more, several ponds would not have been completed, since the excavators would have sunk into the rain-sodden bog soil." Owing to the drought, all approved water bodies could be completed - a total of 49 ponds in the areas of Diepholzer Moor Lowlands, Hunte Valley, Duemmer, and Marler Fladder. Counting the 30 water bodies of last year, 79 water bodies have now been completed altogether. By the end of the project, 190 water bodies ranging from 500 to 5.000m² in size are to be created in addition to approximately 100 small ponds ranging from 5 to 50m².

Pond in the Hunte Valley near Goldenstedt - before and after restoration

Teich vorher

In addition to the newly created water bodies, several existing water bodies were restored this autumn. To this end, shading woody plants were cut back and sediment was removed from the water bodies so as to turn them into suitable spawning grounds for amphibians. Some water bodies were deepened as the lack of a sufficient water depth had led to a drying out of the tadpoles before their metamorphosis. However, the water level of the water bodies also depends on the amount of precipitation. Now all involved parties will hope for plenty of rain so that next spring the frogs chance upon well-filled water bodies.


Teich nachher

New ponds for amphibians – Excavators once again roll into action for NABU

October 2011
Foto: Frank Körner

The next 50 AMPHIKULT ponds for frogs and toads will be dug in various areas of Lower Saxony within the following weeks. At the end of September, the first excavating company began work at the banks of the Rehdener Geestmoor in the Diepholz District, where six new spawning grounds will be created for the moor frog, European tree frog, and pool frog. Thirty new water bodies were already created last year.

One focal point of this year's measures is the bog margins of various raised bogs in the Diepholz District. Apart from the Rehdener Geestmoor, measures are also being implemented at the Neustädter Moor, the Central and Northern Wietingsmoor as well as at the Aschener Moor. At the conclusion of the peat mining process, extended sections of most of the bogs were subjected to wetland restoration in order to give rise to growing raised bogs. The suitability of the resulting water bodies as spawning grounds for amphibians is, however, very limited. “The water in the raised bogs is naturally too acidic for the spawns of most amphibians to develop there”, according to Dr. Markus Richter, project manager of NABU. For this reason, water bodies outside of the actual bogs are necessary to offer the amphibians an opportunity for reproduction. Grassland areas exhibit favourable conditions in this respect. The new water bodies can be incorporated into the extensive agricultural land system e.g. for sheep pastures. Thus, a rapid silting-up or shading (by growing woody plants) can be prevented and the water bodies become available as spawning grounds for a more extended period of time. NABU assigned the planning and site management of the measures in the Diepholzer Moor Lowlands to the local BUND. The BUND has been active in the moors for many years and, consequently, was able to choose the sites that are best suited for the new water bodies.

Additional measures that are being implemented in the valley of the Hunte in the Vechta District are concentrated on the restoration of heavily silted-up water bodies, or water bodies shaded by woods, to bring about their re-acceptance as spawning grounds.


Photo: Dr. Markus Richter, project manager of AMPHIKULT of NABU Lower Saxony (left), and Kai Backhaus of BUND, site manager for the Diepholz Moor Lowlands (Photo: NABU), examine the amphibian spawning ground under construction

Photo excavator: Frank Körner