Country Infos

Country Profile Manager:
Bettina Matzdorf
Leibniz-Zentrum für Agrarlandschaftsforschung (ZALF)

Species-rich grassland (Artenreiches Grünland – Kennarten) - Rheinland-Pfalz




The EuLLa agri-environment schemes ‘Kennartenprogramme’ in the German region of Rheinland-Pfalz (western/south western Germany) include two results-based schemes for species-rich grassland based on the occurrence of at least 4 or 8 key species. These two schemes were developed as an alternative to the management-based agri-environment schemes. There is increasing interest in both schemes from farmers. The species which must be present on farmland under these schemes are listed in a catalogue of key species (partly species, partly genera) which covers all grassland types in the region - from lowland meadows and pastures in the Rhine valley to the mountainous regions. Regional advisors are available to give advice to farmers on the management needed to integrate their agricultural operations and nature conservation.

(c) Regina Horn (LfU RLP) - Species-rich grassland in Rheinland-Pfalz
(c) Tatjana Schollmayer (LfU RLP) - Leucanthemum

Location of the scheme

one region

Rheinland-Pfalz (lowlands to mountains)

Duration of the scheme

Since: 2008
Until: ongoing

Objective(s) of the scheme / project

  • Biodiversity

Protection of species-rich meadows and pastures

Which habitats or species are in the focus of the scheme / project?

  • Habitats (incl. habitats of Fauna-Flora-Habitat-Directive (FFH-D.))

Which indicators are used?

  • Species (incl FFH and BD)

Result Indicators: Key grassland plant species, genera or species groups from a list of 35 species. The catalogue of key species, genera or species groups is divided into three lists typical of mesic (fresh or moderately wet), wet, or moderately dry grassland. A minimum of 4 or 8 indicator species from this catalogue must be present in each third of a transect across the parcel. It does not matter which of the key species are present or whether the same or different key species occur in the three transect segments. The use of genera/species groups for some species that are difficult to identify, e.g. small yellow clovers, makes the catalogue easier to use for farmers.

Design of scheme / project

  • Hybrid result based payment with complementary management based payments

The schemes require grazing and/or mowing at least once a year – although the timing for these activities is not prescribed. A list of actions considered to conflict with the aims of nature protection is prohibited (including drainage and the ploughing up of grassland). The farmer must keep an annual record of management activities and of the results of species monitoring.

By which fund(s) is the scheme / project implemented?

  • Agri Environmental Measures of CAP

How are the incentives (payment levels) calculated?

  • Other

The farmer receives a payment of €250/ha for species rich grassland with at least 4 key species (‘Kennartenprogramm Mähwiesen und Weiden’), and a payment of €300/ha for species rich grassland with at least 8 key species (‘Kennartenprogramm Artenreiches Grünland’).

How many hectares are in the scheme (year 2020)?

  • 2.001 – 5.000

How many farmers take part in the scheme?

  • 101 – 500

Are there any evaluation results (2020)?

  • Yes

A scientific evaluation took place in 2008/2009, 2010 and 2012. Several indicators were recorded including species richness, presence of Red List species, Shannon-Weaver-Index, coverage of species. The results of vegetation monitoring showed an increase in species richness on the plots managed under the results-based scheme. The evaluation showed high species richness (across a wider range of species groups than present in the indicator list including grasses, ferns, mosses etc) in these schemes compared to ‘normal’ grassland (>60/>80 species per sampled area in the two schemes compared to around 33 species per sampled area on normal grassland) and the species richness increased from 2008 to 2012 when the monitoring results were summarised (DLR 2013, IfLS 2010). The species richness of grassland under other management-based agri-environment schemes also increased, however the plots in the results-based scheme show the highest species richness of all those evaluated. 

The increasing number of contracts and extent of grassland under these two schemes shows that farmers are increasingly interested in participating. However, it was only possible to achieve this increase with the help of intensive advisory activities. Based on discussions with some advisors and farmers there also appears to be a change in the consciousness of farmers – they are becoming more aware of the nature value of their grasslands and have started to record the presence of flowering plants as part of their normal management practices.


DLR Rheinhessen-Nahe-Hunsrück (2013) PAULa-Evaluierung – biotische Ergebnisse. Präsentation 14 März 2013. Fritz Mossel und Gunter Mattern, Landwirtschaft und Umwelt, Agrarumweltleistungen, DLR RNH Bad Kreuznach.

IfLS (2010) Halbzeitbewertung Programm Agrarwirtschaft, Umweltmassnahmen, Landesentwicklung (PAUL) nach der VO (EG) 1698/2005. Bericht für das Ministerium für Wirtschaft, Landwirtschaft und Weinbau (MWVLW) Rheinland-Pfalz. Institut für Ländliche Strukturforschung (IfLS).


Contact person

Landesamt für Umwelt Rheinland-Pfalz
State Office for the Environment of Rhineland-Palatinate
Regina Horn

Ministerium Umwelt, Energie, Ernährung und Forsten - Vertragsnaturschutz Ref.25b
Ministry for the Environment, Energy, Food and Forestry
Brigitte Leicht

DLR - Dienstleistungszentrum ländlicher Raum Bad Kreuznach
Service Centre rural area Bad Kreuznach
Julia Arndt 
Responsible for: nature conservation management during implementation of measures




Monitoring Framework

The monitoring of scheme results is carried out by the farmers, through a visual assessments carried out while walking a transect in each field. The transect should stretch along the longest diagonal through the meadow or pasture. The transect line is 2m in width (1 m left and 1 m right of the person walking along the transect). Farmers record the species observed in the transect and note it on a record sheet (which is kept as part of their documentation).

The uptake and performance of the scheme is monitored through recording the number of farmers applying to this scheme and the area of land covered. Control and compliance checking is carried out through the normal IACS control mechanism with around 5 per cent of all applicants controlled in any one year. The IACS control checks to see if all the agri-environmental actions that the farmer has applied for have been carried out. For the results-based part of the scheme the control system checks to see if the correct number of key indicator species are present in the individual field transects.

More information on the programm is available in German.


A detailled description of sampling methods and indicators is available in German.

(c) Regina Horn (LfU RLP) - Lychnis
(c) Tatjana Schollmayer (LfU RLP) - Geranium


Success Factors

There are several success factors for this scheme, including:

  1. The scheme is very flexible for the farmers because they are free to determine the management of their meadows;
  2. The scheme has been developed in response to farmers asking for greater flexibility in their grassland management to better align conservation priorities with conventional farm practices;
  3. The scheme is straightforward to understand;
  4. Farmers wishing to apply for these schemes receive support from a personal nature conservation advisor who is independent of the administration.


A minor challenge for the implementation of this scheme was ensuring that the administrative staff and those controlling the scheme were sufficiently well qualified and knowledgeable in species identification and ecological understanding.