As little as possible, as much as necessary

"To let nature be nature" is the motto of the national park. And it is also the motto of the LIFE+ project. The long-term goal of the National Park is to permanently conserve near-natural habitats for native fauna and flora, free of ongoing human management. Experts call it "process conservation”, when e.g. a part of a forest is completely left to itself. However, before that can happen, it is necessary to remove remnants of human land utilization that will affect the reversion process.

Near-natural forest habitats

Stands of old and young conifers will be removed, as spruce and Douglas-firs are legacies of former forestry activity in the project areas. In the Eifel, only broad-leaved trees are natural, not conifers.
To speed up the change from a conifer to a broad-leaved forest, European (Common) Beech is being planted inside light conifer stands. In areas already cleared of conifers, fences are erected to protect the young broad-leaved trees from wildlife (e.g. deer), which particularly during winter may peel the bark of young trees

Barrier-free streams and flood meadows

Channelizations and bank stabilisations are removed; pipes and dams (weirs) are eliminated or – where necessary – substituted by bridges. The streams and rivers will be allowed to carve out their own natural courses again and be accessible to all their native inhabitants.

Mud (fine sediment) flushed into the streams can clog the spaces between the riverbed gravels and rocks where the larvae of a number of insects and Gammarus species live; and where fish eggs mature. Several different measures are being employed to prevent mud entering the streams. One is to remove or relocate ponds through which streams flow, since these are major mud reservoirs.

Development of Nardus grasslands and mountain haymeadows on areas where conifers have been removed

Open land habitats will be developed on some five hectares where conifers have been removed. To establish the desired habitats, the soil will be mulched and grass- and herb-rich hay seeds will be spread to germinate. To conserve meadows and Nardus grasslands, human management is necessary, so regular mowing and grazing will take place.

Large areas for shy species

To create the largest possible area of continuous habitat as havens for elusive animals like Wildcat, Otter and Black Stork, some  disused paths and tracks, originally installed for military or forestry use, will be removed since they are no longer needed. Habitats will be enlarged through renting and purchase.